Sunday, March 16, 2014

San Giovanni in Laterano

where: Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 4
getting there: metro linea/A San Giovanni or bus 85 from Piazza Venezia
open: church: daily 7:00-18:30, cliosters: 9:00-18:00, Museum of the Basilica: 10:00-17:30
information: audioguides are available for a small donation and guide books can be bought in the sacristy bookshop.

The Papal Archbasilica of San Giovanni in Laterano was commissioned in the 4th century by Constantine the Great. It was one of the first churches to be built in Rome and is the oldest of all four of the papal basilicas.
In the 5th century it was sacked by the Vandals and then, in 896, an earthquake almost totally destroyed it.
When it was rebuilt, it was to the same dimensions as the original church, several fires over the centuries have also seen the rebuilding of the church.
When the papacy returned from exile in Avignon to Rome in 1377 repairs began on the church, changes to the inside and facade followed in the centuries after.
The interior of the church is immense with patterned marble floors, giant statues of the evangelists and saints, stucco work, and frescoes.
The church also has fragments of a fresco attributed to Giotto and Mosaics from the 12th and 13th century.
Many artists from the 16th and 17th centuries contributed to the basilica's decorations.
Some of the frescoes on the left and right of the transept – telling the story of Constantine and Saint John – are by Cesare Nebbia, Giovanni Guerra, Paris Nogari, Cristoforo Roncalli, Agostino Ciampelli, and Francesco Trevisani.
Above the right transept altar is the Ascension fresco by Giuseppe Cesari, another of his works, the altarpiece painting of the Apostle Saint John in Old Age with his Disciples, can be found in the Massimo Chapel.

Artists in San Giovanni in Laterano
Giuseppe Cesari Cavaliere d'Arpino
Cesare Nebbia
Paris Nogari
Agostino Ciampelli
Giovanni Guerra
Luigi Garzi
Cherubino Alberti

Giuseppe Cesari

Saint Batholomew

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for the metro, trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once validated start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki