Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Lateran Baptistery

where: Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano
getting there: metro linea A/San Giovanni or bus 85 from Piazza Venezia
open: daily 9:00-12:30 & 16:00-19:00

The Lateran Baptistery (also known as San Giovanni di Fonte) is one of the oldest baptisteries in Rome and still serves as a place of baptism and prayer today. It stands alone but nearby to San Giovanni in Laterano. The entrance to the baptistery is from the Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano.
The baptistery was originally built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century on the site of his conversion to Christianity.
In the 17th century the baptistery was restored. The work was commissioned by Barberini Pope Urban VIII.
The interior walls were decorated with large frescoes by Baroque artists Giacinto Gimignani and Andrea Camassei with scenes from the Life of Constantine. The artists were under the direction of  Andrea Sacchi who painted the vibrant ceiling frescoes depicting the Life of Saint John the Baptist in the dome. Bees, the emblem of the Barberini family circle around the inside the dome showing that the Pope commissioned the restoration work of the church.
The two chapels on the left of the entrance contain mosaics in their apses dating from the 5th century.

ancient baptismal font

dome ceiling

wall frescoes

wall frescoes

Chapel San Giovanni Evangelista

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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