Constructed on top of an even earlier church, thanks to funding from a wealthy Roman patrician, to whom, according to legend, had appeared the Virgin Mary in a dream. The Romanesque-Renaissance bell tower is 75 meters high the highest in Rome , and the mosaic floor of the cosmatesque masters , are marvelous to visit. The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls It is the second largest basilica after St.
It was converted into a basilica from a sepulchral chapel by Constantine and consecrated in It then became one of the most important stops on the pilgrimage to Rome, and its current form was designed by Pasquale Belli , who rebuilt it in The grand portico, 70 meters long, consists of columns, in the center of which is placed a colossal statue of St. The facade is decorated with beautiful mosaics. Inside you can see the famous portrait series of all the popes in mosaics, and the cloister, a masterpiece of the twelfth century.
The Catacombs A tour of Christian is not complete without a visit to the catacombs , where the earliest followers of Christ were buried. From April 1 — September 30 Every day from a. Italian Tourism Official Website. Islands Sardinia Sicily.
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The original function of the basilica was to guard a precious relic: the chains used by Saint Peter during his imprisonment in Jerusalem, and then in Mamertine Prison in Rome. Over time the church has undergone several restorations, but the relic has never changed place: it is located under the main altar and is exposed to the visitors on August 1st of each year.
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Further, the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli houses another important treasure, which has made it famous and attracts visitors from all over the world. In its interior, in fact, you can admire a masterpiece of the 16th century: the marble statue of Moses, sculpted by Michelangelo in to adorn the tomb of Julius II. The sculpture of the prophet is majestic and intriguing, but above all extremely realistic! The church stands on the site which has been traditionally referred to as the burial place of the apostle Paul , who was beheaded by Emperor Nero in a place situated about 3 km from the basilica.
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The first structure was built in the Imperial time, but the influx of pilgrims was so intense that it has been necessary to tear it down and erect a much more imposing building , consisting of five naves supported by 80 columns. One of the many jewels of the basilica is currently the magnificent porch, located in the forecourt, which is supported by columns. One more reason to visit this incredible basilica , even through a comfortable guided tour by car! The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary , and is also among the better preserved ones over the centuries.
It is located on the summit of the Esquiline Hill and even in this case, as often happens in Rome , the construction of the building took place on the site of another existing church. However, the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the only church in Rome to have preserved the primitive early Christian structure, subsequently enriched by many new construction financed by a wealthy Roman patrician named Giovanni.
Legend says that Giovanni, with his wife, having no children, decided to dedicate a church to the Virgin Mary that appeared to them in a dream during the night between Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th on August AD. Apparently, the Virgin Mary had informed them that a miracle would show them the place on which to build the church… Even Pope Liberius had the same dream and, the next day, he went to the Esquiline Hill that was completely covered with snow that day. The pope himself traced the perimeter of the building and the church was built at the expense of Giovanni and his wife.
Even today, every year, on August 5th recreates the miracle of snow with a special celebration during which, from the top of the basilica , are released into the air of white petals that produce a really impressive effect. After lunch we tour the Vatican Museum and visit the Sistine Chapel which was built in the 15th century as a private chapel for the popes. Later, we also visit St. We also visit the Scala Santa —the holy stairs that Martin Luther, like so many pilgrims, climbed on his knees.
It was during that visit that the seeds for the Reformation were planted as Luther began to question the rituals of the Catholic Church.
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We also tour the fourth century Basilica of St. This fascinating underground Christian cemetery contains precious samples of early Christian art. After lunch we head for the beautiful Umbrian town of Assisi where we have time to relax before dinner.
Around the year , he countered the decadence of church government with a powerful message of non-materialism and dedication to God. Once inside, see why the basilica is one of the artistic and religious highlights of Europe. Enjoy a walking tour of Assisi and free time before a leisurely drive through the Chianti region brings us to the renaissance city of Florence— our home for the next three nights.
Surrounded by well preserved ramparts and layered with history, Lucca delights its visitors. It is said to be the first in Tuscany to accept Christianity and the gospel was spread here in 47AD by its bishop.
You may decide to walk or bike the ramparts, which stretch for 2. We continue on to the visually stunning hill town of San Gimignano. We have time at leisure to shop and explore this town on our own.
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After dinner we head back to Florence. We also view the magnificent bronze doors of the Baptistery. Florence was home to Reformer Girolamo Savonarola. Learn about his fiery sermons against corrupt church leadership which led to his ex-communication and eventual martyrdom in Our tour includes the Museum of San Marco , the monastery where Savonarola lived, which helps illustrate his fascinating life story.
This afternoon is free to shop, visit other outstanding museums, or try some of the best gelato in all of Italy.
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