In this itinerary you'll discover the Papal Basilicas of Rome, also called Patriarchal, and Vatican City. The four Roman Papal Basilicas are part of “Basilicae Maiores” together with the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi, the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi and the Sanctuary of Our Lady in Pompei. They are located in various parts of the city and have been visited by pilgrims since ancient times. You'll also visit the Vatican Museums containing works of the world's most famous artists, the history of the church and the Popes, and much more.
The churches are quite far apart, so you need to travel by public transport.
To visit the sites mentioned it takes about 8 hours, depending on how much time you decide to stop in the basilicas and in the Vatican Museums.
Our trip starts from the “San Giovanni” subway stop (Line A). Once you exit the subway walk through the arches and you’ll see St John in Lateran’s Basilica. This is one of the oldest churches in Rome, home of the papal seat. The church has five aisles, within the niches of the nave we can admire the beautiful statues of the twelve apostles. Among other works there is a wooden statue of St John the Baptist and the papal altar on which there is a Gothic canopy and wonderful frescoes representing the Crucifixion and the Madonna. After the basilica you can visit the Cloisters and the Lateran Palace. You can continue the journey on Via Merulana, or take the subway stopping at the station "Vittorio Emanuele" and take Via Carlo Alberto. The second stop is that of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The church contains many valuable works of art including mosaics depicting the scenes from the Old and New Testament, dating from the fifth century. Other works added later such as those found in the Chapel of the Nativity of Arnolfo di Cambio and the Sforza Chapel, designed by Michelangelo. After you have visited the church, the papal basilicas itinerary continues with a visit to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. To get there go to the Termini Station, take the metro (Line B) and get off at "Basilica di San Paolo". Once there you will have the opportunity to visit one of the four papal basilicas. Outside the church there is a large statue dedicated to the saint, made of Carrara marble. The church is divided into five naves, separated by four rows of 20 monolithic columns of granite. The floor is marble. The nave and transept are embellished by round portraits of all the Popes. The fourth papal basilica is St Peter’s Basilica located in Vatican City. To reach the Vatican City you have to take the subway line A and stop at "Ottaviano". The first stop are the Vatican Museums. Inside the museum you will have the opportunity to visit several areas, including the Gregorian-Egyptian and Etruscan Museum and the Art Gallery, which houses works by famous artists such as Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Giotto and Raphael. After visiting the Vatican Museums go to St Peter's Square to take some pictures outside the large and impressive square, with its high obelisk and the temple of Christianity. Be prepared to visit the St Peter’s Basilica, the church of Rome which is considered to be the world's largest Papal Basilicas and contains the “Pietà” by Michelangelo. After visiting the basilica, with its beautiful nave and the big altar, return to the square. At this point you can decide to take the subway or , if you still have time, you can continue along Via della Conciliazione to reach Sant' Angelo Castle, the large castle that was transformed from the Mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian to a papal residence.
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