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The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

View the Sacred Stairs that Jesus walked upon

Last admission: 2 hours before closing
Duration: 2h
Audio guide: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Wheelchair accessible
Live guide: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Provider: Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi
Registered address: via della Pigna 13/a, 00186, Rome, IT
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Access to the Cloister and the Sancta Sanctorum
Access to the Baptistery and to the Scala Sancta
Access to the Treasure Museum
Audio guide in multiple languages
  • The building was restored in the 1700s and is stunningly decorated in various styles. There are massive mosaics depicting biblical scene, larger-than-life marble statues, a gothic altar and Renaissance artwork
  • 'The Holy Door' is opened by the Pope every 25 years, so you’ll probably have to enter through the central bronze door which once stood in the Senate hall in the Roman Forum
  • The basilica is home to relics from various ages – from the Renaissance through to Ancient Rome and even all the way back to Egyptian pharaohs

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.

  • When entering the Basilica, you'll walk directly into the Lateran corridor. At the end of this corridor, on your left-hand side, you'll find the ORP desk (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi). Show your smartphone ticket there.
  • Please note: From Monday to Sunday, after 13:00, audio guides have to be picked up at the ORP Desk in the Cloisters, located inside the Basilica (left aisle) near the entrance to the Cloisters
  • In order to obtain the audio guide, please download the Vatican&Rome App from the App Store or Play Store

Note:

The Sancta Santorum is closed daily between 13:30 & 15:00 and on Sundays.

Getting There:

Metro: Line A, get off at S. Giovanni station (5-minute walk from the station).

Sancta Sanctorum
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday
Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
4,Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 00184, Rome
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  • Get a full refund if you select a refundable ticket during checkout and cancel until 23:59 the day before you visit.
  • Rescheduling is not possible for this ticket.

Ratings & reviews

4.5
163 verified customer reviews
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Customer images

3 reviews
S
Steffanie,  United States United States
07 Jul 2024
Excellent
Gorgeous cathedral! This is definitely worth seeing! ❤️
Lateran Complex (The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran)
K
Kirstin,  United Kingdom United Kingdom
29 Apr 2024
Excellent
Incredible chapel. Would recommend anyone to see. Lots to see and very peaceful silent chapel.
Lateran Complex (The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran)
T
Tracy ,  United States United States
28 Apr 2024
Terrible
St John’s Basilica is stunning! The person who is employed by this company to explain the audiotour was absolutely horrible. She was late. She was angry and could not get the computer to work. ...
St John’s Basilica is stunning! The person who is employed by this company to explain the audiotour was absolutely horrible. She was late. She was angry and could not get the computer to work. It was sad that a simple audiiotour could ruin such a great experience!
Lateran Complex (The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran)

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