The tour will start from Santa Maria Maggiore, the last of the fourth Papal Basilicas that was founded in 5th century A.D., after the miracle of the snow in August.
Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano: the oldest Papal Basilica, once called by Pope John Paul II “the mother of all the churches in the entire Christianity”, was built over the Headquarter of the Imperial Knights called “equites singulares” under the Emperor Constantine. It was the papal seat until the 15th century, when Pope Martin V moved to the Vatican. We’ll visit the Basilica inside with its 1700 century of history, the baroque decoration made by Borromini the beautiful Romanesque cloister, the Baptistery ending with the Holy Staircase, that was rebuilt in front of the basilica in the 4th century AD after being taken by St. Helena in Jerusalem and being found Pilatus’ House entrance on which Jesus himself stood in front of his people before the crucifixion.
Basilica San Paolo fuori le mura (Saint Paul’s outside the Walls): the second biggest Basilica of Rome, built by Constantine, over the tomb of Saint Paul, buried in the necropolis of the Via Ostiense. It was destroyed by a fire in 1823 and rebuilt before 1860, following the original one. The elegant Romanesque cloister, the mosaics of the IV century and part of the original decoration made by Arnolfo di Cambio in 13th century is still well-preserved. There is also an amazing carved Easter candelabra made by the Vassalletto in the 13th century and the complete series of all the portraits of the Popes since Saint Peter.
Once called “regina viarum”, the first paved public road was built by the consul Appius Claudius Ciecus in the year 312 B C. It’s undoubtedly the best preserved ancient roman road: the first 8 miles, starting from the Gate of Saint Sebastian, are surrounded by the Roman Countryside, with many burial monuments of any size and shape, a unique evidence of the roman custom, among them we’ll visit the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and overlook the Villa of the Emperor Massentius, with its huge private Circus and the Tomb of his son Romulus. Along the same road the Christians excavated their cemeteries, called by the pagan Romans “Catacombs”, a Greek word meaning Caves.
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