Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

#7 of 520 in Historic Sites in Rome
World heritage site · Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The official ecclesiastical seat of the pope, Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano is the oldest church in the city. Commissioned by Emperor Constantine, the church was consecrated in the year 324 CE, the first Christian structure to be completed in the city. Though massively renovated over the years, the interior owes much of its current appearance to Francesco Borromini, a prominent Baroque architect. The building's most notable features are the gilded ceiling, a 15th-century mosaic floor, and a central nave lined by 5 m (16 ft) high statues of the apostles. Over the papal altar, you can find a baldachin--an ornamental structure resembling a canopy--that contains the relics of the heads of saints Peter and Paul. The monument to Pope Sylvester II is rumored to have sweated and squeaked on numerous occasions when the death of a pope was imminent. Work out when and for how long to visit Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and other Rome attractions using our handy Rome trip planner.
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  • Arcibasilica Papale Romana Maggiore di San Giovanni in Laterano is the oldest and highest of the four papal major basilicas in Rome. It is also one of the most spectacular architectural sights in...  more »
  • Great church. Is an Archibasilica, ( The first one) . If you are in Rome is a must. The marble Apostols great. Isa must if you are in Rome. Is my 3 time in this great church. Don't miss the medieval....  more »
  • Superb church to rival St. Peter's in the Vatican. One can only marvel at the monumental scale of the buildings. Great location in the heart of the city with excellent access to public transport
  • Massive church, though not immediately obvious where the entrance is! Particularly enjoyed the statues of the 12 apostles inside. Outside curiously unkempt: a large area of scruffy grass where pigeons seem to enjoy sitting down. And why not?

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