Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano : Michelin's recommendations
Its founding by Emperor Constantine symbolised Christianity's triumph over Paganism. From the 5C onwards, popes made it their official residence, until moving to Avignon for nearly a century. However, the edifice, which was the setting for many important councils, is no longer Medieval, after being devastated by invasions, an earthquake and a fire. It was totally rebuilt in the Baroque period and 18C. The facade, erected by Alessandro Galilei, is topped by a crowd of saints and, under the porch, you can see a statue of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, which originates from the Imperial Quirinal Baths. The Baroque, grandiose, solemn and sometimes considered cold interior was "renovated" to suit 17C taste. Borromini organised the naves, but did not work on the superb ceiling, produced by some of Michelangelo's students. Statues of the apostles were produced this time by some of Bernini's students. You should also see the Corsini Chapel, a fine piece of work by Galilei (a fragment of the fresco is attributed to Giotto) and the transept, which radiates with frescoes, marble and gold decorations (designed by Giacomo Della Porta). It is a good example of Mannerist decoration, with its fresco-studded walls, reminiscent of theatre decorations, and its magnificent ceiling. You can see the basilica's treasure in a small museum, to the right of the "presbiterio". The charming 13C cloister, is made up of finely-cut ancient marble, by the Vassallettos. The latter could be a place for you to rest your eyes, after such an artistic feast !
- Address : Piazza di Porta San-Giovanni 6 I - 00185 Roma00185Roma
- Phone : 06 6988 6433
- Website : http://www.vatican.va-