Basilica of St. John Lateran – What you need to know:
Second in importance only to the Basilica of St. Peter, the basilica of St. John Lateran is the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome and considered the mother of all churches in the world. The basilica is an example of early Christian architecture, dating back to the start of the 4th century, and history has it that Constantine donated the land and palace of the Laterans to Pope Miltiades as thanks to Christ for victory during the Battle of Milvian Bridge. The first Basilica was therefore built on the land and was to be often added to and reconstructed in later eras.
The basilica was almost entirely destroyed in an enormous fire in the early 14th century but was rebuilt immediately by Pope Clement V. Many changes continued to be made after this.
You enter the Basilica of St. John Lateran through the magnificent Baroque portico featuring 15 sculptures of Christ. The basilica has 5 naves; the central one has a remarkable lacunar ceiling and the two alongside it feature small cupolas. The central nave is adorned with the statues of the 12 apostles that fill the niches in the pillars.
Basilica of St. John Lateran at a Glance
When to visit: Every Day
Opening hours: 7:30/18:30
Directions: Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, 4.
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