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“Worth going the extra mile!”

Abbazia di San Paolo fuori le Mura
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$116.86*
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Full Day Tour: Vatican Museums, St. Peter's and the Most Important Basilicas of...
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Christianity in the Ancient Rome Private Tour
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$95.88*
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Private Tour: Basilicas of Rome
Ranked #16 of 1,874 things to do in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: At the beginning of the 4th century, with the end of the persecutions and the promulgation of the Edicts of Tolerance in favour of Christianity, Emperor Constantine ordered the excavation of the cella memoriae, the place where Christians venerated the memory of Saint Paul the Apostle, beheaded under Nero around 65-67 A.D. Above his grave, located along the Ostiense Way, about two kilometers outside the Aurelian Walls surrounding Rome, Constantine built a Basilica which was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324. Between 384 and 395 the Basilica, under the emperors Theodosius, Valentinian II and Arcadius, was restored and enlarged according to an extensive project consisting of five naves opening out into an atrium (quadriportico), or courtyard with four rows of columns. Throughout the centuries the Basilica would not cease to be embellished and enhanced by the Popes. For example, the massive defensive wall was built to protect against invasions at the end of the ninth century, while the bell tower and the magnificent Byzantine door were constructed in the eleventh century. Other important additions include Pietro Cavallini’s mosaics in the facade, the beautiful Vassalletto family’s cloister, Arnolfo di Cambio’s celebrated Gothic baldachin and the Candelabrum for the Paschal candle attributed to Nicola d’Angelo and Pietro Vassalletto of the thirteenth century. This historical period represents the golden age of what had been the biggest Basilica of Rome, until the consecration of the new Basilica of St. Peter in 1626. This sacred place of Christian pilgrimage was well-known for its artistic works. On the night of July 15, 1823, a fire destroyed this unique testimony to the Paleo-Christian, Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Basilica was reconstructed identically to what it had been before, utilizing all the elements which had survived the fire. In 1840 Pope Gregory XVI consecrated the Altar of the Confession and the Transept. Other embellishments followed the reconstruction. In 1928 the portico with 150 columns was added. Contemporary work in the Basilica has uncovered the tomb of the Apostle, while other important and beneficial works are carried out, as in the past, thanks to the generosity of Christians from all over the world. In the fifth century under the Pontificate of Leo the Great, the Basilica became the home of a long series of medallions which would to this day depict all the popes throughout history. This testifies, in an extraordinary way, to “the very great, the very ancient and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Saint Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3, 3,2). Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls constitutes an extra-territorial complex (Motu Proprio by Pope Benedict XVI, 30 May 2005), administered by an Archpriest. In addition to the Papal Basilica, the entire complex includes a very ancient Benedictine Abbey, restored by Odon of Cluny in 936. This Abbey remains active even today under the direction of its Abbot who retains his ordinary jurisdiction intra septa monasterii. The Benedictine Monks of the ancient Abbey, founded near the tomb of the Apostle by Pope Gregory II (715-731), attend to the ministry of Reconciliation (or Penance) and the promotion of special ecumenical events. It is in this Basilica that every year on the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity solemnly opens. The Pope has specified two privileged tasks for this Papal Basilica: the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance) and the development and organization of ecumenical initiatives. On June 28, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica and announced that the following year would be designated the “Pauline Year” to commemorate the bimillennium of the birth of Saint Paul. Thus, the “Pauline Year” was run from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

Although the Basilica is outside the City the metro link makes visiting easy - just a couple of hundred yards from the Metro Station.
Although restored (original destroyed by fire) it is beautiful and well worth a visit.

Thank Wilpshirerick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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777 - 781 of 3,528 reviews

Reviewed November 13, 2012

I know the only time to travel is during holidays, for most of us at least, but seriously dont go during Christmas time to Rome, PERIOD. My Mom grew up as a Catholic, so she was very excited to go to the vatican city and just Rome in general. But we could only see ST. PAUL from the outside, there was a 4 hour waiting line to go INSIDE. plus we had to pay. this was Christmas Eve

Thank Carla U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Inside the exhibition, you will find lots of amazing pieces of painting and stunning basilica's collection. worth a visit

Thank TheJoJazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Another amazing site in Rome. Out of all the Basilicas we have seen in our Europe travels, this was clearly the most impressive. Strangely it was also the only one that allows visitors to take photos inside.

We paid to go up the tower. We paid for the lift and climbed the 320 steps from there. It is steep if you are unfit. Some clearly found it difficult. The steps are narrow and windy. If you stop, you end up holding everyone up as there is not a lot of places you can step aside to let another person pass.

If you are in Rome, don't miss it!

Thank T5555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Once upon a time I lived in Rome. I never made it out to St. Paul Outside the Walls because it was fairly new, having been re-built after a fire destroyed most of the basilica in 1823. Recently I visited Rome again (June 2012) and wanted to see some places I didn't make time for when I lived there. Don't make the same mistake I did and underestimate the beauty and importance of this major basilica!!! The church is beautiful and there many features that are very old -- the mosaics in the apse are from the 11th century and the baldachino is from the 13th century.

Thank tygertravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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