from €10.00 EUR
Duration: 90 Min.
Basilica of St. John Lateran was recovered in the 1700s and is amazingly decorated in different styles. There are enormous mosaics portraying scriptural scene, larger-than-life marble statuaries, a gothic altar and Renaissance artwork.
The Holy Door is opened by the Pope every 25 years, so you’ll probably need to get in via the main bronze door which once stood in the Senate hall in the Roman Forum. The basilica is home to relics from numerous ages– from the Renaissance via to Old Rome and also completely back to Egyptian pharaohs.
When entering the Basilica, you’ll walk directly right into the Lateran passage. At the end of this corridor, on your left-hand side, you’ll find the ORP workdesk (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi). Display your smart device ticket there.
- Audio guide in numerous languages,
- Accessibility to the Cloister and the Sancta Sanctorum,
- Accessibility to the Baptistery and to the Scala Sancta.
- Live Guided Tour.
Cancellations and changes are not possible for this ticket.
The district owes its name to a rich Roman family, the Laterani, who owned property here. At the beginning of the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine (312-337) founded the first basilica dedicated to St John, shortly after his victory over Maxentius.
He also constructed a palace which he gave to Pope Melchiades (311-314) for the establishment of Rome’s first episcopal see. It was from this seminal act in the history of Christianity that the Basilica acquired its status as the Mother Church, first among all others both in Rome and throughout the world.
The palace and church of the Lateran were the object of constant improvements, notably for Charlemagne’s coronation in 800. The district saw its finest days in the 1100s, when the need to accommodate the clergy led to the construction of numerous dwelling houses.
On returning from Avignon in 1377, however, Gregory XI (1370-1378) found his palace burned to the ground. He chose thereafter to live in the Vatican. From that moment, the Lateran lost its pre-eminence and its role as the centre of Christianity.
The present building was reconstructed by Domenico Fontana in 1586. It was in this somewhat chilly residence that the Lateran Treaty was signed in 1929, giving the pontiffs sovereignty over Vatican City and several extraterritorial’ properties – particularly the four ‘major’ basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Paolo fuori le mura, St Peter’s, and St John Lateran – as well as the summer villa at Castel Gandolfo among the Castelli Romani. St John Lateran has suffered a number of disasters.
Devastated by the Vandals in the fifth century, toppled by an earthquake at the end of the ninth, and then seriously damaged by the fire of 1308 which consumed the Lateran Palace, it was rebuilt on each occasion.
More than a score of popes worked tirelessly to restore this highly symbolic monument where innumerable councils were held during the Middle Ages.
The building’s present appearance results primarily from the reconstruction carried out in the Baroque period and the eighteenth century, when the facade was completed.
The Renaissance ceiling apart, the theatrical nave bears the stamp of Borromini, whilst the transept is a fine example of the Mannerist style. The Baptistery was also largely restored in the seventeenth century; in the time of Constantine, this was the site of all Christian baptisms in the city.