Rome, much like the rest of Italy, is predominantly Roman Catholic, and has been an important centre of religion and pilgrimage for centuries. Pilgrims and visitors alike flock to see St.Peter’s Basilica, St.Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel all of which are located within the Vatican City, home of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. The history of Rome spans over two and a half thousand years which goes some way to explain why there is so much to see and that there are over 900 churches in Rome alone.
Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano The Papal Basilica of St.Peter lies inside the Vatican City. The tomb of the first Bishop of Rome, St.Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, is located underneath the main altar of the Basilica. Many of the popes have been buried at St.Peters since early Christian times.
Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
The Basilica of St.John Lateran is the Cathedral Church of Rome and the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, the title which is held by the Pope. It is also the Ecumenical Mother Church of the Catholic Church and is the most ancient church in the world and ranks first out of the four of the major, or Papal, Basilicas in Rome.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome and the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome. There are also 25 other churches dedicated to Mary in Rome, but this Basilica stands out from the other due to its size.
Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
The Basilica of St.Lawrence outside the walls is a minor Basilica and one of the seven pilgrimage churches of Rome and one of the five patriarchal Basilicas. It has the title of ‘Outside the walls’ as it stands outside the ancient city walls of Rome.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva
Santa Maria sopra Minerva has the status of minor basilica and gets its name from the fact that it sits on the site of a former temple dedicated to Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom. The facade of the basilica is of Renaissance style and the interior is the only Gothic church in Rome.
The Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope SixtusIV in 1475 to 1483. Built by Giovanni de Dolci, and named after Sixtus IV, the chapel was designed to be virtually inaccessible from the outside, almost fortified. Under Pope Sixtus IV, painting began in 1482, painters such as Boticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Rosselli began to illustrate the Old and New Testements which face each other along the walls. The Life of Moses along one side depicting the Old Testement and on the other The Life of Christ showing the New Testement. Going a little further along are paintings from Botticelli, The Temptation of Christ, The Healing of the Leper and Moses with Jethro’s Daughters. Next there is the Crossing of the Red Sea by Rosselli and The Calling of the First Apostles by Ghirlandaio. Next comes Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law and the Sermon on the Mount both by Rosselli. Next is Botticelli’s Korah, Dathan and Abiram which faces the Delivery of the keys to St Peter by Perugino. Coming to the end of the frescoes there are The Testement and the Death of Moses on the left and Roselli’s greatest work The Last Supper.
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The Vatican City – Citta del Vaticano
The Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano), is the world’s smallest state and is situated inside the City of Rome, Italy. Also known as the Vatican City State, it is the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and the temporal seat of the Pope, head of the worldwide Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion Catholics.
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