Arcibasilica di San Giovanni Laterano

The Highest-Ranked Catholic Archbasilica in the World

Must-Do's Rome Published on 20 September 2018

Arcibasilica di San Giovanni Laterano (Archbasilica of St. John Lateran) is surely famous for its shiny marble, golden inlays and frescoed porticoes. However, the place also bears an important institutional value. In fact, it’s the only archbasilica in the world that houses a papal cathedral, making it the highest-ranked Catholic archbasilica in the world. It’s also the oldest of Rome’s four major basilicas, and a functioning church open for public use.  

Highlights at San Giovanni Laterano

A sumptuous door on the side of San Giovanni Laterano is part of the world’s most important Catholic pilgrimage destinations. One of the four Holy Doors in Rome, it opens at every Jubilee, and grants redemption to all who walk through it. The Holy Stairs, also part of San Giovanni Laterano, were brought from Jerusalem where – legend has it – Jesus Christ himself walked on them. It is also said that the cedar table showcased in the Altar of Holy Sacrament is the very same used at the Last Supper. 


Did you know?

Emmanuel Macron – and all French presidents before him – is by right the “first and only honorary canon” of the church. This is an honour that the chirch has bestowed upon French kings and presidents since 1482.


Time to Explore: About 2 hours.

Top Tips: Mind your dress code; you need to cover shoulders and knees to enter!

What’s Close? Basilica di San Clemete, Colosseo, Circus Maximus, Terme di Caracalla, Arco di Constantino, Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli.

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