The Church of San Giovanni in Laterano was initially constructed between the years 311 and 314, on order of the Emperor Constantine, and it is considered the oldest basilica in the West. Throughout the years, it has undergone numerous renovations and expansions, some quite extensive. The majestic façade, which contains fifteen large statues representing Christ surrounded by Saints, dates to around the year 1734. The façade’s main portico houses a statue of Constantine and five doors; the central doors were originally in bronze, dating to the 1st century BC, though the bronze was later used for the Senate building in the Forum.
Inside the church, there are five naves and quite a number of very precious artistic works of art, as well as religious objects. The ceiling, completed by the school of Michelangelo, dates to the 16th century, while the mosaic pavement dates to the 13th century, as does the Papal “altar” and tabernacle. As for religious objects, the church is said to house the skulls of Saints Peter and Paul, a piece of the table of the Last Supper, as well as a vial of Christ’s blood. After admiring this magnificent church, visit the Botanic Garden, the Testaccio district and Gianicolo hill.
Address: Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, 4, Roma, Italy
Open hours: 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
Phone: +39 06 6988 6433
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