Churches of Rome
Italy is home to some of the most striking and unique churches worldwide, and Rome, as centre of the Holy See, is replete with stunning temples which are definitely worth visiting. In addition to St. Peter's Basilica, in the Vatican City, these are the most renowned parishes of Rome:
In Rome are located the four highest-ranking Catholic churches in the world, called the major basilicas in the world. All of them have a high altar, where only the Pope can celebrate mass.
In addition to St. Peter's Basilica, the following three basilicas enjoy the same distinction:
- One of the four major basilicas of Rome, the Basilica was erected on the burial site of St Paul and is the second largest after St. Peter’s.
- Known in Italian as Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterno, St John Lateran was founded during the fourth century in honour of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. It is the most important of the four major basilicas of Rome and the Cathedral of Rome.
- Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was founded during the fourth century.
Minor basilicas and other must-see churches
- During the fourth century, the Basilica di San Clemente was erected on the mansion of Emperor Titus Flavius Clemens, and reconstructed during the Middle Ages. This minor basilica is dedicated to Pope Clement I.
- Also known in English as Our Lady of the Conception, it was built between 1626 and 1631, commissioned by Pope Urban VIII. It is famous for its crypt, containing the remains of thousands of friars.
- The Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is a minor basilica built during the Middle Ages. It houses the renowned Bocca della Verità (The House of Truth).
- Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere was founded during the third century. This minor Basilica still maintains its medieval character despite the numerous reconstructions suffered during the centuries.
Other interesting churches
- Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri was designed by Michelangelo and is the only Renaissance style church in Rome.
- San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains) was built during the fifth century to house the relic of Saint Peter’s chains when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem.
- Erected between 1568 and 1584, Il Gesù was the first Jesuit church built in Rome. It was lavishly decorated during the seventeenth century.
- The Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is found very close to the Altare della Patria and is one of the most cherished churches by Rome’s inhabitants.
- Santa Maria della Vittoria, Our Lady of Victory in English, is a basilica dating from the seventeenth century. It was erected to commemorate the victory of Emperor Ferdinand II at the battle of White Mountain.
- Standing on the Piazza del Popolo, near the northern gate of the Aurelian Wall, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is a small temple with a splendid Renaissance decoration in its interior.