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Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

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sandy, utah
posts: 863
reviews: 5
Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

I'm trying to see as many churches as I can while staying 3 nights within walking distance of the Colloseum. The first day in Rome I thought it would make sense to see Saint Paul's and San Clemente first since they are both on the same metro line and Saint Paul's opens at 7 am, before touring the Colosseum, etc. I'd also like to see Saint John's and St. Peter in Chains but I'm not sure when to work them into our itinerary. How long should we allot for each church? Are they all worth trying to see? How many hours should we allot to tour the Colosseum area? I read if you buy tickets at the Palatine Hill you avoid waiting in line at the Coloseum. Is the Palatine worth seeing? Are the 4 euro guided tours of the Forum worth doing if we have a guidebook? About how long do they last?

On our second day, a Sunday, we'd have time to see things from about 2 pm on. I was thinking of seeing the Pantheon and some neighboring churches. Any specific suggestions on how to spend our time then or on rearranging our schedule on the first day? We will be touring the Vatican/St. Peter's a week later on our last day in Rome. Thanks for your help!

Chorley, United...
Destination Expert
for Venice
posts: 17,460
reviews: 94
1. Re: Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

Rome is one of the great three in Italy - Venice, Florence, Rome - arguably the top three, certainly in the top four of cities in the world for art and architecture. It is impossible to do i t justice in 36 hours so you will simply have to reconcile yourself to the fact that you are going to miss an awful lot of important sights.

San Paolo fuori le Mura is a very old foundation but the present building is quite modern, only about 150 years old though the cloister is seriously old and a good example of cosmatesque work.

San Clemente is a more interesting church. The basilica is 12 century, largely copying its 4th century precursor. There is a fine 12 th century mosaic in the apse, showing the vine of life. A motif of which the earliest example is in the 4th century mausoleum of Santa Costanza on Via Nomentana which is very well worth seeing if you are interested in early churches. It adjoins Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura which is also a 4th century chruch with good 7th century mosaics in the apse.

Saint John's do you mean San Giovanni in Laterano? Originally built in 313 but very little remains of the original church. The present facade dates from 1735 but there are bits and piecews somewhat older remaining inside. There is a fragment of a fresco supposedly by Giotto but impossible to prove it in fact is, or just by some contemorary working in much the same style.

St Peter in chains = San pietro in Vincoli. originally built 5 th century but altered in 8, 11 and 15 centuries and then given the baroque treatment in 18 century. Michelangelo's "Moses" is important.

posts: 764
2. Re: Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

I would add Santa Maria Maggiore to the list of suggestions. This basilica is a wonderful blend of architectural styles, and its naive is part of the original 5th century building. There are mosaics, Romanesque bell tower, medieval roundels, Renaissance coffered ceiling, Baroque twin domes and facades, Cosmatesque marble floor, and an Egyptian obelisk. Something for everyone!

Rome, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 2,146
reviews: 1
3. Re: Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

St. Giovanni in Laterno and San Clemente are blocks from each other, so lump them together. St. Peter in Chains is near the colosseo so it will be a quick trip for you.

sandy, utah
posts: 863
reviews: 5
4. Re: Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

Thanks for all your advice. Robert J - I'm especially impressed with all your knowledge of different areas in Italy. Are you a history professor? So if we get an early start, can we realistically expect to see Saint Paul's, San Giovanni and San Clemente before hitting the Forum and Colloseum area? About how much time total would all of that take? We need to be at the Borghese Gallery that same afternoon for 5 pm reservations. Would it be best to shift one of them to the next day even if it means some backtracking? I thought we could see Saint Peter in Chains the morning before we head to Florence. We'll be seeing Santa Maria Maggiore the first day we're in Rome, before heading to Naples.

**Does "modest dress" in Saint Paul's, etc. mean no capris?

New York
posts: 64
reviews: 1
5. Re: Leaving for Italy in 8 days - Which of these Rome churches...

I wore Capri's inside the churches. Its all about the top. Make sure it is loosely fitted and has sleeves. And I assume the Capri's will not be skin tight!