Save at St John in the Lateran and the Cloister
St John in the Lateran and the Cloister
Free Entry to St John in the Lateran & Cloister
Normal Ticket Price: €10.00
Admire the stunning Cosmatesque architecture and see the legendery Scala Sancta at the official seat of the Pope, St John in the Lateran
As the official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope, the Basilica of St John in the Lateran is the oldest and most important church in Rome (you wouldn’t have guessed it was ranked above St Peter’s Basilica!). It’s also one of the oldest basilicas in Western Europe, having been built in 324 AD. Its adjacent Cloister is an oasis for meditative prayer and both buildings are popular amongst visitors to Rome both for their religious symbolism as well as their architecture and history.
- Cosmatesque interior design and baroque façade and architecture
- Twelve large sculptures of the Apostles by the late baroque artists of the early 18th century
- Holy Steps, the Scala Sancta
- 14th century Gothic baldacchino
- The Cloister
Did you know:
- St John in the Lateran and Cloister is actually a nickname; its official name is Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and of Sts. John Baptist and John Evangelist in the Lateran
- There are six Papal tombs inside the basilica, the more recent tombs are now held in the crypts at St Peter’s Basilica
- The basilica suffered the fate of two destructive fires during the Avignon papacy and from then the Pope moved out and into St Peter’s in the Vatican, where he lives to this day
Things to see:
The nave features the original cosmatesque mosaic floor and gilded wooden ceiling which survived the fires and Borromini’s renovations in the mid 17th century. The papal cathedra (chair) sits in the elaborate apse, rich in decoration and mosaics. Not to be missed!
The holy steps are a set of 28 white marble steps in the old Lateran Palace, leading to the Sancta Sanctorum – the early personal chapel of the Popes. According to Catholic belief, the steps are the same ones that Jesus Christ stepped up leading up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem.
Topped with fifteen Travertine statues, the façade is one of the basilica’s most impressive features and was part of a renovation project commissioned by Pope Clement XII. Alessandro Galilei won and finished the final façade, as we see today, in 1735. It’s now one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the city.
Built in the early 13th century the cloister is one of the most beautiful in Rome and displays the ornate Cosmatesque style in its mosaic friezes, as well as the thick spiralling columns embellished in mosaic decoration, too. The ambulatory houses a ninth century well and small garden, a secret oasis in the centre of Rome.
How to get there:
- San Giovanni (Metro A)
see the: full list of attractions included
The Omnia Vatican & Rome Card, great value for money.
In a nut shell fantastic! Allows you to gain access to many top musems and monuments. Easy to use, comes with a booklet outlining the main attractions you can visit using your passes. You can also use the Rome Card on the metro and trams, allowing you to get round the wonderful city of Rome.
Patricia Williams from USA
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Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 00184 Rome