For all its dreary location and dull exterior (19th-century British writer Augustus Hare said the church resembled "a very ugly railway station"), St. Paul's is one of Rome's most historic and important churches. Its size, second only to St. Peter's Basilica, allows ample space for the 272 roundels depicting every pope from St. Peter to the current Pope Francis (found below the ceiling, with spaces left blank for pontiffs to come). Built in the 4th century AD by Constantine
over the site where St. Paul had been buried, St. Paul's was then rebuilt and enlarged. But in July 1823, a fire burned the church to the ground. Although the rebuilt St. Paul's has a sort of monumental grandeur, it's only in the cloisters that you get a real sense of what must have been the magnificence of the original building (for guided tours for a fee of €4, call 06/69880800). In the middle of the nave is the famous baldachino created by sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio.