Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Rome Churches
For fans of Religion or Roman History, this is a must visit. Others come for the altar, Benedictine cloisters and art-inscription filled dome.

Know Before You Go

Come to see the Altar of the Holy Sacrament and the statues in the nave and the painting of the gateways to Heaven. The cloisters from the Benedictine monastery date back to the early 13th century and are well worth a look. The beautiful inscriptions and artwork in the dome are awe-inspiring.
There are less people there early in the morning, if you have a Roma Pass you have the audio for this tour.
Check if there is a mass on, if so you may not be able to walk around freely but it could be a wonderful experience.
Small children may find the quietness a problem.
Dress Code : Strict. Cover your shoulders and knees, and you must wear shoes.

The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran is the first among the four major Roman Basilicas. It is the Cathedral of the Pope and the bishop of Rome and is known as the Cathedral of Rome and the world. It was constructed by Constantine the Great and dates back to the 4th Century, it was the very first church to be built in the city of Rome. Containing important relics, an ancient Baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte and a 13th century cloister, it really is a must see if you have an interest in religion or Roman history.


The Basilica has a fascinating history which details the damage which occurred through earthquakes fires and battles. In 1377 when the popes returned to Rome the church and city was almost in ruins, they immediately set to work led by Pope Martin V and rebuilt the church. Come to see the central bronze doors from the original senate house. The statue of Constantine the Great and the high altar which can only be used by the Pope. The altar of the Holy Sacrament contains a cedar table which is said to be the one used by Christ at the Last Supper.

Key Highlights

The Basilica has a fascinating history which details the damage which occurred through earthquakes fires and battles. In 1377 when the popes returned to Rome the church and city was almost in ruins, they immediately set to work led by Pope Martin V and rebuilt the church. Come to see the central bronze doors from the original senate house. The statue of Constantine the Great and the high altar which can only be used by the Pope. The altar of the Holy Sacrament contains a cedar table which is said to be the one used by Christ at the Last Supper.

Map : Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

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