Conceptio in Itinere

Christian Rome

Basilicas of Rome and the Catacomb
length
4hrs approx. Available: everyday am/pm



The history of these Basilicas comes together the history of Rome, scaring the religious path, the social events and the artistic experience.
St Mary Major is the largest, among the Roman Basilicas, to be dedicated to the Holy Mary. It's the only one that survived through the years and the numerous decorative interventions, with its original shape. Pope Liberius ordered the erection of the Basilica on the exact point where a miraculous snowfall happened during the torrid night on 04th August 352 a.C. According to the legend Pope Liberius understood the wish of Our Lady to erect the Basilica in this miraculous place. On 05th August we still celebrate the Snow of Mary in front of the Church for years called St Mary of the Snow. Inside the Basilica there are important mosaics, many tombs of Roman Popes and behind the main altar, under a simple paving stone, the tombs of Bernini Family where both Gianlorenzo Bernini and his father Pietro have been buried.

Continuing our visit we will come to the Cathedral of Rome and the most ancient Basilica of the western world;
St John's Lateran Basilica. It has been funded by Constantine I as the main church of Rome and subsequently converted to the Baroque style by Francesco Borromini. All Popes have been crowned here until 19th century and nowadays it's the official seat of the Roman Bishop. The large complex around the Church embraces the Lateran Palace, the Major Pontifical Roman Seminary and the Pontifical Lateran University. Stop to visit the Holy Stair on the left side of the Square. The Stair that, according to the Christian tradition, was climbed by Jesus to reach the room of the Interrogation with Pontius Pilate before the crucifixion. The 28 steps have been put into effect starting from the highest one, to avoid the builders walk on them and allow only the Pilgrims to kneel down on the stair.

Last Basilica of our visit will be
St Paul Outside the Walls rising on the legendary burial place of St Paul Apostle, in the middle of an ancient guest-house on the long way to Ostia. The Basilica, rebuilt after the fire on 1823, is the second largest Church after St Peter at the Vatican. Here, under the major altar, there's the tomb of St Paul Apostles and for this reason this Basilica has always been a pilgrimage destination; since 1300 date of the first Holy Year, it has been part of the Jubilee itinerary and seat of the Holy Door's opening ceremony. We will end our tour with the visit to one of the Catacombs of Rome. This can be to St Calisto, St Domitilla or St Sebastian. For their importance, the precious heritage of paintings and sculptures, the Catacombs are nowadays visited by thousands of Pilgrims from all over the world. They are authentic archives of the primitive Church, an attestation of the costumes and rituals of how the Christian doctrine was meant and applied.

 

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Tour includes: transportation with private vehicle, authorized local English speaking guide, entrance to the Catacomb and hear-phones for the internal visit of the Basilicas.


Images: St Paul Basilica Outside the Walls and St Mary Major Basilica.