I recommend this area because it is full of things to see and to experience too.
Let's start from the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran, the cathedral of the Pope, the main Basilica in the world for Catholics.
This is unique because there are different styles and the result is perfect. In case you want to know more about the complex, you can get an audio guide at the information point which is beside the statue of Constantine in the main porch.
Other interesting sights include; the 12th century cloister; the Baptistery (the Basilica and the Baptistery were the very first Christian sites in Rome); the Scala Santa that was walked on by Jesus on his way to trial by Pontius Pilate and brought from Jerusalem in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine’s mother, St. Helena; the Sancta Sanctorum, the private chapel of the Popes and the Triclinium where you can see the very first flag of the Vatican State.
You need to spend at least 2 days within this area because nearby you can visit the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, the small and cosy church of the SS 4 Coronati and its cloister, visit the Villa Celimontana Park, the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo, the very well preserved Roman houses of the Celio, they are located just beside the church.
Remember, just in front of the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran you can get the bus 218 (blue one) that will take you directly to the Catacombs.
Metro Linea A-B and Bus N. 16-81-85-87-117-186-218-650-714-850.
Iam Italian, I read 6 pages of tips and, regarding Rome, I was surprised that nobody seems to have visited San Pietro in Vincoli, an otherwise unimportant church but one that contains the statue of Moses by Michelangelo. The first time I saw it I felt like I was in the presence of God and I am not a believer.
It is in Via Cavour, you can walk there from the Stazione Termini in 15 or 20 minutes, then on your left there are stairs leading to the church. I am sorry I cannot give better directions, maybe there are signs - anyway you can ask the tourist bureau.
Church dedicated to the martyred St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. The building itself (some parts dating back to the 12th-century) is stunning enough, hidden away behind a courtyard. But more beautiful are the ruins in the cellar (turn left inside main door, a small fee is charged for entrance). Roman ruins, once at street level, have been excavated, giving the bizarre experience of walking along a ruined, underground street with rooms either side of you (one of which is alleged to be St Cecilia’s).
To top it all off, at the far end of these ruins lies the entrance to the stunning Byzantine-style crypt dedicated to St Cecilia: an incredibly beautiful room to find hidden alongside the dustier Roman ruins. The most magical place I visited in Rome.
22 Piazza di Santa Cecilia
This splendid church has three of the most amazing Caravaggios, including the Calling of St Matthew and it is free.
The second find is the The Ecstasy of St Teresa di Avila by Bernini. It is carved of one solid piece of marble is is simply quite stunning and stirring.
Piazza di San Luigi dei Francesi near to the Piazza Navona
the Church of S Maria della Vittoria is close to Via XX Settembre near the appian Way
When visiting the Vatican on Sunday you will find the queues for the Basilica and the Dome evaporate at 12 o’clock when the Pope starts his address. This is the time to join the queue. You move quickly through security and you will find yourself below the Pope’s window. You have a great view through the gaps between the columns. You are now ahead of the crowds with the Basilica and the Dome to yourself, plus a very different photograph for your album.
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