Churches and Basilicas
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
The cathedral of Rome was founded by Pope Melchiades (3rd c.), but on the occasion
of the 1650 Jubilee Borromini decorated the old structures with stucco work and
polychrome marbles. The last door on the right of the monumental façade is opened
only in Holy Years. Among the funeral monuments and cardinals' tomb inside, worthy
of note is the recumbent statue of Riccardo Annibaldi by Arnolfo di Cambio (1276).
Of great interest is the suggestive cloister (13th c.) with its elegan columns
dorned with mosaics.
Basilica di San Paolo
Erected in the year 324 over the tomb of St. Paul, the basilica was almost entirely
rebuilt after the fire of 1823. It holds a number of noteworthy works of art:
the famous tabernacle by Arnolfo di Cambio (1285); the paschal candlestick by
the Vasselletti (12th c.) and, in the apse, the mosaic depicting "Christ blessing,
Honorius III and saints". There is an interesting cloister with splendid polychrome
marble inlays and mosaics.
Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
Known as S. Francesca Romana, this church was completely restructured in 1216
by honorius III. Over the high altar is the 12th c. panel of the "Madonna and
Child", while in the sacristy is kept the "Madonna Glycophilusa" icon (5th c.).
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Rebuilt by Sixtus III in the 4th c., it was modified in the 12th c. and its exterior
was transformed during the Baroque period. The interior maintains the simple,
linear appearance of the primitive paleochristian basilica and is decorated with
a cycle of splendid mosaics: Stories from the Old Testament; (5th c.) in the nave,
scenes from the "Early life of Christ" on the triumphal arch, and the apse mosaic
of the "Coronation of the Virgin" by Jacopo Torriti (1295). Of great importance
are the Cappella Paolina, the altar of precious stones, and the crèche by Arnolfo