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“Statues of Apostles make this a worthy stop” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
Piazza di Porta San Giovanni, 4, 00184 Rome, Italy
06.698.86433
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Ranked #2 of 725 attractions in Rome
Type: Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Churches/ Cathedrals
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Known to be the first church in Christendom, this church belongs to the Vatican and has the privileges of extraterritoriality.
Austin, Texas, United States
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5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Statues of Apostles make this a worthy stop”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2012

The official Cathedral of Rome. It's big and beautiful but really only worth a stop for the statues of the Apostles (St. Thomas was my favorite but St. Bartholomew is also very cool). The heads of Peter and Paul reside over the altar. But, after seeing St. Peter's San Giovanni feels overly large, poorly scaled and kind of empty. Don't miss the Sancta Scala (Holy Stairs) across the street.

Visited November 2012
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Bucharest, Romania
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397 reviews 397 reviews
342 attraction reviews
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206 helpful votes 206 helpful votes
“The most important cathedral in cristendom”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano is a very important cathedral because it's the Papal Archbasilica and it's a very old one (dating from the 4th century). The exterior is great (The facade is neoclassical and on the right side of the facade you can find the Lateran Obelisk) and the interior is quite amazing (the church gives you the sensation of greatness, making every visitor to feel small).

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
297 reviews 297 reviews
136 attraction reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
217 helpful votes 217 helpful votes
“Beautiful Church, Peaceful Atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

One of the most important churches in Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano is also one of the most opulent. Constructed in the basilica style, its gorgeous, high ceiling is breathtaking. Because there are powerful statues across Rome, those here won't stand out, but the biblical stories recounted in marble are of interest. I wouldn't bother with the cloister (for which there is a fee), but do check out the Scala Sancta and the Baptistery. Also, be sure to take in the front of the church--there's a side entrance you'll use if you walk up from the Colosseum (15-20 minute trek) and miss the grand facade.

Visited October 2012
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Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
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Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Interesting and opulent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

I visited San Giovanni's on a Sunday when a church service was in progress, so I only stayed briefly and quietly saw what I could without disturbing those in prayer. The church is beautiful with ornate ceilings, huge sculptures of the apostles, paintings, crypts, and numerous side chapels. It was only after visiting that I read some of the history of the cathedral. To fully appreciate all I was seeing, I should have read about it prior to my visit. It was only later that I found out that the massive bronze doors were once located in the Senate in the Roman Forum. This church certainly merits a visit, but if possible, do it at a time when a religious service is not being conducted so that you can see all that it has to offer without distracting anyone. I walked from the Coliseum and it took about 15-20 minutes.

Visited October 2012
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BOLOGNA ITALY
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76 reviews 76 reviews
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52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“SO CROWDY YOU MAY LOOSE THE ATMOSPHERE”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

This is really the cradle of christianity in Rome. The baroque apparel (from Bernini) hide the ancient glory of this church. But you'll find it sooo crowdy that you can miss the authentic atmosphere. This is a real shame. Go and visit the SCALA SANTA too, in order to see devotes climbing to the top on knees! Keep silence and respect!

Visited October 2012
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