- Learn the fascinating history of St. Paul's Basilica outside the walls and choose from two audio guides: focus on the church itself, or go deluxe and hear about (and see) the Cloisters, the Pinacoteca and the Archaeological Area
- See the largest church in Rome after St Peter’s, originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century!
- Learn about the life of a monk when you visit the Cloisters, built between 1208 and 1235, and see real relics
St. Paul Outside the Walls is the largest church in Rome (after St Peter’s). The original burned down in the 19th century, but many of the original treasures survived: the 5th-century triumphal arch, the Gothic marble tabernacle shimmering over the high altar, and the nearby Benedictine Abbey. Grab one of two different audio guides - either focus on the basilica, or get access to the whole area.
A lot of what stands on the site of this incredible basilica is a 19th-century reconstruction - the original was destroyed by fire in 1823. Pity the poor workman who was repairing the lead on the roof of the 4th century church and caused the damage.
The good news is that the present church is a faithful reconstruction of the original. Enjoy your audio guide's explanation of the history of this remarkable church and see many of the surviving ancient treasures: the 5th-century mosaic-encrusted triumphal arch, the Gothic marble tabernacle, and the 12th century Romanesque Paschal candlestick with its weird animal-like creatures, literally designed to put the fear of God into worshipers.
Speaking of fear, under the windows of the nave is a cycle of papal portraits: every pope since St Peter is represented. Legend has it that when there's no more room to add a pope, the world will end. Let's hope they're planning an extension!
Speaking of extensions, if you want to see everything this spot has to offer, get the option that includes the Cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey, the Archaeological Area (including the tomb of St. Paul himself, the patron saint of, among others, authors, public workers and saddlemakers), and the Pinacoteca (painting gallery).
There's so much to see and hear about at this significant church just a little off the beaten path. Get in and get informed!
- Audio guide and ticket for St. Paul’s Basilica
- Or audio guide and ticket for St. Paul’s Basilica, The Cloister, The Pinacoteca and The Archeological Area
How to use your tickets
After the security checks, go into the main entrance. On the left side of the Colonnade you'll find the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi stand where you need to show your tickets.
The basilica of St. Paul's is surrounded by a beautiful park. After your visit to the church take a stroll and relax. You can also get a Gelato at La Romana, the best ice cream in town!