There are 900 churches in total, so here we will be discussing the Oldest Churches in Rome, the city of Rome is the best place in the world to discover religious architecture. Italy‘s capital is famous for being one of the beautiful cities in Europe and has the collection of ancient churches in Rome, and here is this more evident than in the breathtaking architecture, world-class art of Rome’s churches. Follow our guide to have mind-boggling and jaw-dropping churches in Rome.
List of all the Oldest and Ancient Churches in Rome
1. San Giovanni Laterano – Cathedral of Rome
San Giovanni, is Rome oldest church and the first church of the popes, from the fourth century until the popedom moved to France in 1309. The pope’s residence was in the Lateran Palace. This is the first Christian church ever built in Rome. The current church is Baroque, his monastery and a museum can be visited. Be sure to visit the baptistery next door Sancta Sanctorum across the street.
2. Saint Peter’s Basilica – San Pietro in Vaticano
St. Peter’s Basilica, is in Vatican City. San Pietro is the current church of the pope and is one of the largest and important Catholic churches in the world. Inside the vast interior, there are many marbles, bronze, and gold artwork, including Michelangelo’s Pieta. You can visit Saint Peter’s for free but you need to pay to see the adjoining Sistine Chapel, with its famous paintings by Michelangelo and Botticelli, and the Vatican Museums.
3. Santa Maria Maggiore
Another of the four Catholic churches, Santa Maria Maggiore has beautiful 5th-century Biblical mosaics. The marble floor, bell tower, and patchwork on the triumphal arch and in the loggia are medieval. Its magnificent ceiling is said to be decorated with gold Columbus brought back from the new world.
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The fourth papal church of Rome is San Paulo Fuori le Mura, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, two kilometers from the San Paolo Gate along via Ostiense. It also holds many art treasures and leftovers including the chains believed to have been used on Paul when he was under arrest.
4. The Pantheon
In 118, the Pantheon was built as the Roman temple of all gods and is the best preserved ancient building in Rome. Its vast dome has oculus ie circular opening at the top that lets in the only light. In the seventh century, Christians turned the Pantheon into a church. Inside there are many tombs, some holding the bodies of Italian monarchs.
5. San Clemente
San Clemente, near the Colosseum, is tourist’s favorite because of its layers of archaeological excavations, illustrating Rome’s interesting history. The best way to visit the excavations is to have a guided tour.
6. San Pietro in Vincoli – Saint Peter in Chains
San Pietro in Vincoli was found in the fifth century to hold the chains that are believed to be those that held St. Peter captive in Mamertine Prison. According to legend, one set of chains was sent to Constantinople and when it was returned to Rome, the two parts get fused together. The church has a collection of the famous statue of Moses by Michelangelo, the center of the work known as the tomb of Julius II.
7. Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, is one of Rome’s famous pilgrimage churches. Santa Croce is a Baroque church known for its collection of remnants. There is a replica of the Shroud of Turin, the shrine of a young girl being considered for sainthood, and 15th-century paintings in the apse. In the fourth century, Santa Croce started as a church and still has granite columns from the original church. It’s been remodeled many times and the church we see today is from the 18th century remodel.
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The monk and archaeological complex includes gardens in the Castrense amphitheater. There is a hotel run by the monks, Domus Sessoriana.
8. Santa Maria in Cosmedin
Santa Maria in Cosmedin is situated between the river and the Circus Maximus is the important Greek church in Rome and has some beautiful Byzantine patchwork. In front you’ll see tourists sticking their hands into the Boca Della Verita, the mouth of truth, a medieval drain cover sculpted to look like a face. According to legend, if you’ve been untruthful the mouth will snap shut and cut off your hand.
9. Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Santa Maria is another Rome’s church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva by the Pantheon is only Rome’s Gothic-style church. It was built in the 13th century and is believed to have been the Temple of Minerva. There’s a good collection of art, including another Michelangelo, Christ Carrying the Cross, and the tombs of St. Catherine, Fra Angelico, and the Medici popes.
10. Santa Maria del Popolo
Santa Maria del Popolo, in Piazza del Popolo, was the first Renaissance church in Rome. The church features Caravaggio’s Martyrdom of St. Peter and Conversion of St. Paul. In the Chigi Chapel, created by Raphael, are ceiling patchwork and pyramid-like tombs as well as statues by Bernini.
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Here we have discussed the Oldest and Famous Churches in Rome. We let you know the origin and history behind these beautiful churches in Rome, the church in Rome is not constructed only for the purpose of worship, but there is some historical fact behind its construction.