Discover an exciting and important part of Rome's history with this tour of Christian Rome! Your expert guide will lead you through such gems as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Saint Prassede Church, the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, and the Catacombs.
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Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four Patriarchal Basilicas and the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome. It has two magnificent chapels (the Sistine and the Pauline), and the truly breathtaking mosaics offer some of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary in late Christian antiquity. It is the only Roman basilica which, in spite of several additions, has retained its original shape. It was built in 352 AD, after, as the legend goes, the Virgin Mary appeared to Pope Liberio and marked the site of the church he was to build with a snowfall on the Esquiline Hill – in August.
The building shows different architectural styles, reflecting the many restorations carried out through its secular history. The bell tower is the highest in Rome (about 75m). The interior hosts works by many Italian masters, such as Andrea Lilio, Cesare Nebbia, and Domenico Fontana. Fontana was the architect for Pope Sixtus V, one of the most important pontiffs whose legacy includes the road network of the city.
The church of Santa Prassede was founded in the 10th century by Pope Paschal II. It is dedicated to Saint Prassede (or Praxedes), the sister of Saint Pudenziana and daughter of Pudens, in whose house Saint Peter reportedly stayed while in Rome. Byzantine artists adorned the church with gold mosaics, which are one of the main sights of this ancient church.
Santa Prassede is one of the most important basilicas of Rome, and is said to be the "Mother of all the World's Churches". Constantine began its construction in the 5th century. Throughout the centuries, it has been modified under various popes who decorated it to their liking.
San Giovanni in Laterano
San Giovanni in Laterano is the Cathedral of the dioceses of Rome and the official ecclesiastic see of the Pope. Its neoclassical facade is splendid, with five gateways characterized by fifteen great statues of Christ surrounded by saints. The finely decorated interiors are breathtaking – particularly the ceiling by the school of Michelangelo and the mosaic floor.
Look out for the inscription Christo Salvatori on the façade. It indicates the church's dedication to Christ the Saviour – like all patriarchal churches. Interestingly, the fact that it is the cathedral of the bishop of Rome ranks it above all other churches in the Catholic Church – including above Saint Peter's Basilica! This is why San Giovanni in Laterano also holds the title of Archbasilica.
The Catacombs are tombs but were also considered private and protected areas by the Romans and as shelters from persecution. The catacombs form an intricate network of narrow corridors hewn into stone. After the corpses had been placed into the funeral niches, with tokens and names of their relatives placed beside them, the niches were sealed with stone slabs. These galleries were built over several levels and every level is from 100km to 150km long.
Price (per group): € 224.66
This is a private, guided tour, for parties from 1 to 20 people.
The tour will be scheduled especially for you and your party.
Admission tickets to the various sites are NOT included.
Santa Maria Maggiore - no admission fee
Santa Prassede - no admission fee
San Giovanni in Laterano - no admission fee
Catacombs: about € 8.00/€ 6.00 (various catacombs are open to visitors on a rotating schedule, depending on the day of the week)
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