There is an endless number of churches in Rome. How many? More than days per year!
The story about the spread and growth of Christianity is impressive and starts with the Roman persecution of Christians. What year and where did Christianity originate? During the private tour we will discover answers on these questions and visit five most important basilicas with most saint masterpieces of the Christian world:
- The Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli (also known as Basilica Eudoxiana). According to the legend from the times of the start of Christianity, the apostle Peter was held in the Mamertine prison and the chains that held the him can be found in this church nowadays. However, besides chains, there is a notable sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo.
- The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano). The church is considered the ecumenical mother church of all Catholic faithful. The first temple was built on the territory of Lateran family by Emperor Constantine I and served as a Papal residence for a long period of time. Moreover, it is the oldest and highest ranking of the four Papal major basilicas, which gives it the title of “archbasilica.” Basilica of St. John in Lateran houses the cathedra of the Roman bishop. In addition, on the square in front of the Lateran Palace stands the largest obelisk in the world, known as the Lateran obelisk.
- The Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore) is a Papal major basilica and the largest Marian church in Rome. According to the 1929 Lateran Treaty, the basilica located in Italian territory is owned by the Holy See. Moreover, famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini buried in this church, who being aware of his own greatness, designed a monumental tomb for himself during the last decade of his life. Interestingly, the church is sometimes called the St. Mary of the Snow (Santa Maria della Neve) or Liberian Basilica, which is a reference to the medieval Legend of the Snow. The legend says the patrician John, the owner of the Esquiline Hill, had a dream on the night of August 4, 352 AD. In the dream he saw the Virgin Mary, who told him to build a church on the place where snow would fall the next day. Moreover, pope Liberius had the same dream during that night.
- The Sancta Sanctorum is a Roman Catholic chapel entered via the Holy Staircase (Scala Santa) of the Lateran Palace in Rome. The chapel contains a cypress wood reliquary box, located under the altar by Pope Leo III. Presumably, there are bones of at least 13 saints. Also, there is an icon of Christ Pantocrator (Uronica), the ornate floor by Cosmati from 13th century, and important relics as the cloisonné enameled cross commissioned by Paschal I.
- The Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme) is a Roman titular church and is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. It was consecrated to house the relics of the passion of Jesus Christ brought to Rome from the Holy Land by Empress St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine I. Importantly, the Basilica is not dedicated to the Holy Cross from Jerusalem, but it is itself is “in Jerusalem” because a “piece” of Jerusalem was moved to Rome for its foundation. There are famous relics of disputed authenticity in the Cappella delle Reliquie (1930), including part of the Elogium or Titulus Crucis, two thorns of the Crown of Thorns, and three small wooden pieces of the True Cross.
Stories about the birth of Christianity in the Roman Empire, facts, and information about its expansion are main topics of this individual tour
- Individual tour for a group of 1-3 participants costs: 150 euro with an extra payment of 25 euro for any additional participant.
- Duration: 2.5-3 hours
- Beginning time: 9 am or 3 pm
- Meeting point: near Colosseo metro stop, here is the point on map
- Dress code: covered arms and knees