This tour includes an English-speaking Guide (private - only for you) for the 3-hour tour of Christian Rome
Your tickets for the Subway are not included.
Admission to the churches is free!
The access to the Basilicas is permitted only to visitors with proper attire!
You’ll meet our professional English-speaking guide (private Ė only for you) in the prearranged meeting-point, which can be changed according to guests’ requirements.
FOR REACHING THE CHURCH OF ST. PAUL’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS, THE PARTY WILL USE THE SUBWAY.
This marvellous Walking Tour of Rome will start with the visit of the beautiful Basilica of St. John in the Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome, which was founded by Constantine as the Basilica of the Saviour, during the papacy of St. Sylvester (314-335). It was destroyed and rebuilt several times; the current basilica dates back to the XVII century. A mosaic of the XIII century in the apse has survived to the renewal works as well as a fragment of a fresco by Giotto depicting the Pope Boniface VIII. Another ancient piece that has survived until our days is the Gothic canopy above the altar. The imposing faÁade in travertine was built in 1735 by the architect Alessandro Galilei. The balustrade above the attic holds 15 statues which represent Christ, St. John the Baptist and the Doctors of the Church. On the left side of the portico is a statue of Constantine brought from the Imperial Baths at the Quirinal; the bronze doors were taken from the Curia in the Roman Forum by Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667). The last door on the right is the Holy Door, opened only during holy years. Moreover a small museum near the cloister displays vestments and manuscripts by Pierluigi da Palestrina. The octagonal baptistery that is to the right of the Basilica was founded by Constantine and contains beautiful mosaics of the V and VII centuries.
Next stop on our tour of Christian Rome is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. It is the fourth largest church in Rome and the largest dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and apart from some decorations, it is the only basilica which still preserves its original shape and character. The beautiful faÁade, by Fuga, features a portico with five openings divided by pilasters decorated with columns, and a loggia with three great arches. The Romanesque Bell Tower is the tallest in Rome. The interior, with three naves, is a magnificent sight. At the end of a double row of columns, under the triumphal arch, is the great canopy, also by Fuga, supported by four splendid porphyry columns. The ceiling, by Giuliano Sangallo, was gilded with the first gold brought from America. Along the walls of the architrave, a series of thirty-six mosaics represent scenes from the Old Testament, which join the great mosaic of the triumphal arch, with scenes from the New Testament. All these mosaics, which date back to the V century, are of particular importance and beauty. The floor of the basilica is a fine Cosmatesque work of the XII century. The sarcophagus in front of the high altar was decorated in 1874 by Vespignani, who used the rarest and most precious marble. Behind the metal grill is the celebrated Presepio (crib), consisting of five pieces of the manger in which Christ was put at birth. In front is the large kneeling statue of Pope Pius IX by Jacometti. On the high altar, under the great canopy, a sarcophagus contains the bones of St. Matthew the Evangelist. In the apse with the lancet window is a fine mosaic of the Triumph of the Virgin Mary by Torriti.
By Subway you can reach with our guide last destination of this three-hour guided tour: the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, built over the tomb of the Apostle of the People. It was the Emperor Costantine who for first had a church built over St. Paul’s tomb. A much larger basilica was built at the end of the IV century. According to the mosaic inscription on the triumphal arch, it was begun by Theodosius, finished by Honorius, and restored and decorated by Placidias under Pope Leo I (440-461). The magnificent four-sided portico immediately suggests a typical Roman Basilica. The present building, the largest basilica in Rome after St. Peter, has only 150 years of history even if something of its ancient past is still present in some details and in the magnificent cloister. The worst damage to the Basilica, considered one of the marvels of the world, derived by a fire in 1823, but also the successive restorations have damaged the oldest parts. It was rebuilt by Pope Pius IX in 1854 on the same foundations according to the original design. Among the surviving parts, there are: some portals dating back to XI century and decorated with biblical scenes; an Easter calendar dating back to XII century depicting animals with human heads; the elegant ciborium (a painting canopy) above the altar, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. In the sacristy of the Basilica are the remains of a series of Popes portraits and at present there is room only for other eight of them: after that, according to a legend, the world will end.
Each church will be visited for about 45 minutes.