Apparently the pope put St. Peter’s bones on display at the Vatican yesterday, which has never been done before.
I visited the Vatican on a trip to Italy with some friends about 6 years ago. Two of my friends on the trip, high schools chums, were a brother and sister who’d been raised Catholic, and they found out about a special tour that goes through the cemetery that the Vatican was built on top of. It was really cool, actually, because not many people take that tour compared to how many visit the Vatican, and there in the 1st century graveyard is where Peter was supposedly buried following his crucifixion, across the river from what was Rome proper back then.
The tombs mostly belonged to the common people, and their markings were very diverse. The people of Rome were extremely eclectic when it came to religion, and several of the family plots had iconography relating to a wide range of worship, including Roman state gods, Egyptian gods, followers of mystic cults (such as Mithras and, oh, Christianity), and others.
The tour then arrived at what is thought to be Peter’s tomb, and a little section had been cut out through which we could see his bones. Our tour guide, an American priest, said that they have dated the bones as being from the right era, and male, so there is a legitimate possibility that these are the actual Peter’s bones. When the (first) basilica was built (the one standing now is the second in that location), they placed the altar directly over Peter’s grave, so his gravestones are literally the rocks on which the church was built. So, yeah, it’s called St. Peter’s Basilica because he’s buried in the basement, which I hadn’t realized until I was there.