Visit one of the seven pilgrim churches of Rome. Marvel at one of the greatest basilicas in the world and look at the sacred staircase on which Jesus walked.
The aura and architecture of St. John Lateran will both amaze and compel. It’s the oldest basilica in Christendom and dates to the 300s. It was lovingly and grandly restored in the 1700s and has the honor of being the Pope’s cathedral. This combination of religious significance and visual beauty makes it a favorite of visitors to Rome.
You’ll know you’re entering one of the world’s great basilicas by the exterior. Larger-than-life marble statues of Jesus and various saints stand imperiously on the roof of the imposing neo-Classical facade. The Holy Door on the far right is only opened once every 25 years by the Pope, while the massive bronze door in the center originally belonged to the Senate in the Roman Forum. But it's not just the doors that are impressive.
Step inside and you'll be struck by the scope, grandeur and beauty of the building. The nave welcomes you in beneath vaulted ceilings, as sunlight streams in through high windows. Flanked by a double aisle and impressive marble statues that accentuate the rectangular lines, the design seems to compel you towards the domed apse.
The décor is intricate, beautiful and varied. Be sure to look upwards – the gold-leaf coffered ceiling bears the coats of arms of Popes Pius IV and Pius V.
The building in its present form dates largely to the 1700s but there are relics and remnants from earlier ages: a beautiful gothic altar from the 1300s, two gilded bronze columns from the second century and - incredibly - the Sacred Steps. These are stairs that Jesus actually climbed during the Passion and were transported to Rome many centuries ago.
It’s a storied and striking place, one that has enormous appeal for both believer and non-believer.
Shoulders and knees must be covered during the visit. Low-cut or sleeveless tops or shorts are not allowed.
The arched basilica is wheelchair accessible.
Children between 0 - 5 years attend the church free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult.
When you enter the basilica, go directly into the Laterangang. At the end of this corridor, on the left, is the ORP counter (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi). Please show your smartphone ticket there.
Scala Sancta Opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 06:30 - 18:30
Sa: 07:00 - 18:30
• Audio guide in multiple languages
• Access to the Cloister and the Sancta Sanctorum
• Access to the Baptistery and to the Scala Sancta
Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4, 00184 Rome.
Please bring your booking confirmation.
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