The 5 Most Important Churches in Rome

Rome is one of the most important tourism centers in the world, which have many magnificent churches for the reason that it is regarded as the center of Christianity and the Pope's house. This city, which is also a pioneer in the terms of architecture and art, contains a lot of large and small religious buildings. Especially, the buildings that have been used as temples in the past periods and then converted into churches are quite impressive.

 If you want to see at least a few of the city's most important churches during your trip to Rome, you can find general information about the five most important churches in the city throughout the article. Here are the 5 most important churches in Rome;

1) St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica 2

St. Peter's Basilica is located in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. This church which is the most famous and most visited of the city, was built between 1656-1667 by architect Gian Lorenzo Berniri for Pope Alexander VII. The columns of the building, located at a point that dominates the Vatican, embrace the whole square.

The first thing that attracts your attention when you come to San Pietro, the center of Roman Catholic belief, is the splendid dome of Michelangelo. In addition to this dome of 136.5 meters, Michelangelo's "Pieta" sculpture is also famous. This sculpture depicting the concepts such as grace, sadness, eternity was put into protection by surrounding by glass in 1972 after was attacked by someone with a hammer in hand.

Another statue you can see in San Pietro is "St. Peter". There is a belief about this sculpture: It is believed that touching and kissing the statue's foot brings luck, so the foot is worned out!

In the treasure section, the bronze cross inlaid jewels, remaining from the 6th century, bronze grave cover of the Sistus IV, which the Pope describes, some sections dating back to the Middle Ages can be seen.

The Basilica of San Pietro is also famous for its stained glass. Most of these vitrines that are even more impressive with daylight are Bernini designs. There are various arguments about the cellar tomb in the basilica where the graves of many religious and political people are situated. However, it is thought that this grave found during the excavation in 1940 belongs to Saint Peter. Another noteworthy work here is the Alexander VII Monument, which depicts the figures of "justice, righteousness, chastity and prudence".

The Pope addresses the crowd from San Pietro in special ceremonies and arrangements. Even, while the papal choice is made, a smoke is released from here to the air. You can enter the church after you have passed x-ray devices and security checks and the entrance queue extends at 11:00. So it's a good idea to make your plans as you will wait for a minimum of 45 minutes. You can't enter with knee-top skirts, shorts, hanging clothes, shirts, T-shirts. If you are dressed like this, you will be asked to be covered before you come in.

Visiting Informations

Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

Transportation: You can reach here by metro from Ottoviano Saint Pietro metro station or by bus numbered 62.

Visiting Times: It is open everyday between April – September 07:00 – 19:00, between October – March 07:00 – 18:00. 

Entry fee: The entrance from the main entrance of the church is free. You can see the dome, treasure, Vatican Grottos part with a fasttrack ticket for 15 euros.

2) Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica Santa Maria

There is a myth about Santa Maria Maggiore, the second most important church in Rome. According to the legend, it is said that the church was built after the snow which falled on the top in a unexpected time.

One of the most magnificent sections of the building, which has undergone many renovations, is the gold-plated roof which Queen of Spain gifted to the Pope. Santa Maria Maggiore, the eternal venue of many Roman souls, also hosts the tomb of the famous architect Bernini. The miraculous snowfall in Esquiline Hill, which is thought to have led to the construction of the church, is celebrated every August 5th with a festival called "Our Lady Of Snows".

Visiting Informations

Address: Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, 42, 00100 Rome, Italy

Transportation: If you get off the metro stop to Termini stop and follow Via Cavour up to Largo Esquilino, you can get here. The church is located in Piazza del Esquilino. If you come by bus, you can use lines 70, 75, 84. You can also get here by trams numbered 5, 14. 

Visiting Times: 07:00 – 19:00 (It is open until 18:00 in winter.)

Entry fee: Church entrance is free. You can visit the museum section, with adult tickets for 3 euros or discount tickets for 2 euros.

3) Santa Maria del Popolo

Santa Maria del Popolo

Santa Maria del Popolo is one of the most important Renaissance works located in Rome. There are works by names such as Andrea Bregno, Pinturicchio and Bernini in the church built in 1472. Cerasi Chapel, Della Rovere and Chigi Chapel make it even more rich. Between the sections and works you should definitely see, when you come to the church are; Caravaggio paintings in Cerasi Chapel, skeleton kneeling representing death, stained glasses remaining from the 16th century, frescoes series depicting Delphi Kahini, graves of Sansavino.

Also, the legend of Neon's ghost, which has been circulating since the Middle Ages, continues as Neon's ashes buried in underneath tree..

Visiting Informations

Address: Piazza del Popolo, 12, 00187 Rome, Italy

Transportation: You can reach here from "Flaminio" stop by metro or one of the buses numbered 95, 117, 119, 490, 495, 926.

Visiting Times: Church, can be visited between Monday – Saturday 07:00 – 12:00, 16:00 – 19:00; and Sunday from 08:00 to 19:30 .

Entry Fee: Entry is free.

4) San Giovanni in Laterano

San Giovanni in Laterano

Althought Saint Peter's Basilica is considered to be the cathedral of Rome, but in fact it owes its name to St. John Lateran, the bishop of the 4th century. This ancient church was built by the first Christian Emperor Constantinus. San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome's first Christian basilica, was also used as a papal residence until the 14th century. In the building which underway a radical renovation work in 17th century, the tables of Cavalier d'Arpino, Orazio Gentileschi and Cesare Nebbia must be seen.

Visiting Informations

Address: Piazzadi S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4, 00184 Rome, Italy

Transportation: You can get here by getting off the metro at "San Giovanni" stop or by one of buses numbered 81, 85, 87, 571.

Visiting Times:  It is open from 07:00 to 19:00, the baptism center is from 07:00 to 12:30 and from 15:00 to 18:30.

Entry Fee: Entry is free. It is costly to see the stoops.

5) Pantheon


The Pantheon, among the most important structures of the city, is one of the places converted from temple to church. Lord Byron lauds the antique Roman ancient of Pantheon, which he describes as "simple, upright, serious, glorious and supreme". It is thought that this monumental structure of 2000 years was built from the beginning three times. 

It is known that the structure we see today is made in the 2nd century AD. The graves of many Christian martyrs have been moved to the Pantheon over time. For this reason, it is also known as "Basilica of Saint Maria and Martyres". When you come here you can also visit the tomb of two Italian kings, Vittorio Emanuele II, Umberto Eco and Queen Margherita.

Visiting Informations

Address: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Rome, Italy

Transportation: This place is a walking distance from Barberini metro station. If you want to come by bus, you can get here by buses numbered 492 or 51.

Visiting Times: Monday-Saturday from 08:30 to 19:30 (last entry 19:15), Sunday from 09:00 to 18:00 (last entry 17:45).

You can find all the important informations that you may need throughout your trip to Rome in: Our Rome Travel Guide, Places to Visit in Rome, and Rome Shopping Guide articles.


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