Fodor's Expert Review Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

San Giovanni Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice
Free

The cathedral of Rome is San Giovanni in Laterano, not St. Peter's. The church was built here by Emperor Constantine 10 years before he built the church dedicated to Peter, making it the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). But thanks to vandals, earthquakes, and fires, today's building owes most of its form to 16th- and 17th-century restorations, including an interior designed by Baroque genius Borromini. Colossal statues stand watch over the towering facade: the 12 apostles plus Christ, John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary.

Some earlier fragments do remain: under the portico on the left stands an ancient statue of Constantine, while the central portal's ancient bronze doors were brought here from the Forum's Curia. The altar's rich Gothic tabernacle, holding what the faithful believe are the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul, dates to 1367. The last chapel on the left aisle houses the cloister, which is encrusted with 12th-century Cosmatesque mosaics. Around the... READ MORE

The cathedral of Rome is San Giovanni in Laterano, not St. Peter's. The church was built here by Emperor Constantine 10 years before he built the church dedicated to Peter, making it the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). But thanks to vandals, earthquakes, and fires, today's building owes most of its form to 16th- and 17th-century restorations, including an interior designed by Baroque genius Borromini. Colossal statues stand watch over the towering facade: the 12 apostles plus Christ, John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary.

Some earlier fragments do remain: under the portico on the left stands an ancient statue of Constantine, while the central portal's ancient bronze doors were brought here from the Forum's Curia. The altar's rich Gothic tabernacle, holding what the faithful believe are the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul, dates to 1367. The last chapel on the left aisle houses the cloister, which is encrusted with 12th-century Cosmatesque mosaics. Around the corner stands one of the oldest Christian structures in Rome: Emperor Constantine's octagonal Baptistery. Despite several restorations, a 17th-century interior redecoration, and even a 1993 Mafia-related car bombing, the Baptistery from AD 315 remains true to its ancient form.

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Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice Free

Quick Facts

Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano 4
Rome, Latium  00184, Italy

06-69886433

www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_giovanni/index_it.htm

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Basilica, free, museum €3, cloister €2

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