The Papal Basilicas
– A Unique Private Tour of Rome
During this off-the-beaten-path Tour in Rome, you will have a private car at your disposal all the time. Your driver and your private Rome tour guide will meet you at your Hotel (please indicate your Hotel name during the booking, when requested). You will move to the Basilica of St Paolo Outside the Walls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the relics of Saint Paul lie. Here you will also visit the beautiful medieval cloisters attached to the Church. You will then move to St John in Lateran, the most important Catholic Church in Rome and the original seat of the pope. This church is older than St Peter’s Basilica (that you can actually visit with one of our private or daily Vatican group tour). Finally your guide will take you to St Mary Major where you will see, among other things, 5th- century mosaics.
ST PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS
The Church of St Paul Outside the wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains the human relics of St Paul the Apostle, the man who so greatly contributed to spread the Christian faith among the so-called Gentili, the pagans. It was Emperor Constantine to found the original church and to inaugurate it on the 18th of November 324 AD. The mosaics on the Triumphal Arch dates back to the 5th century AD. But one a fire heavily destroyed the Church, the restorers were still able to snatch the mosaic off, refurbish the wall underneath, and put back the ancient tesserae were they belonged. Last but not least during this tour of the patriarchal basilica of St Paul you will also visit the mesmerizing medieval cloister attached to the Roman church.
ST JOHN IN LATERAN
St John in Lateran is the “Mother and Head of all the churches in the city and on earth” (Urbis et Orbis) and was dedicated to the Savior in 313 AD, immediately after the famous Edict of Milan that granted religious freedom to the Roman Empire. It could well be said that this is the earliest, and most ancient Roman church and it was even larger than the Maxentius Basilica! It was Emperor Constantine himself, after winning the Battle of Ponte Milvio against Maxentius, that decorated the building with gold, silver and mosaics. In the 17th century, Francesco Borromini—some say the first, some say the second greatest Baroque Architect after Bernini—gave to the ancient basilica its present shape and look (the facade, however, is a project of Alexander Galilei). One of the highlights of the Church is certainly the Baptistery of St John, built by Emperor Constantine himself and then reshaped in its current octagonal shape in 432 AD by Pope Sixtus III.
ST MARY MAJOR
Not only is St Mary Major one of the seven pilgrimage churches and also one of the four patriarchal basilicas of Rome, it is also the largest and most important shrine to the Virgin Mary in the city. Its history goes back to an earlier and smaller building erected by Pope Liberius (352-366) after he had a vision of the Virgin Mary. The Mother of God told him to build her a church on the spot where snow would lie next day—and this was in the month of August! Snow fell on the highest point of the Esquiline. St Mary Major is particularly notable for its mosaic ornamentation, some being amongst the most ancient and beautiful of the whole Christian history—dating back to the 5th century AD. Smalts in all possible shades of color, some gold-plated, were mingled with natural stones and creating an effect of radiance and strong reflections throughout the church interiors that became now a representation of the Christian cosmos. Finally, the ceiling built by Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) were gilded with the first gold coming… from America!, and sent to Rome by the king of Spain.
Prices Include All Entrance Fees
• Entrance Fees Included
• Private car and driver available all time.
• Private Local Rome Guide
Meeting Place: provided upon booking