Rome’s finest churches [photos]

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For the first day of Lent – a selection of the Eternal City’s sublime places of worship

The seat of the Roman Catholic Church for over one and a half millennia, the beautiful cityscape of Rome is inexorably shaped by its magnificent religious edifices. According to some estimates, there are over 900 in total. Here we take a look at the city’s 11 most important and spectacular basilicas and churches.

Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St John Lateran)

The upper portion of Basilica of St John Lateran’s façade – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
The official seat of the Pope (Bishop of Rome)…The Basilica of St John Lateran is the highest ranking church in the Catholic Church

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore)

Interior view of Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore’s fifth century mosaics – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Impressionistic splendour … Some of the oldest iconographic depictions of the Virgin Mary from Christian Late Antiquity can be found inside the 1,600 year-old Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura (Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls)

Upper façade of Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Saint Paul’s final burial place … The stunning frescos are worth the visit alone to this, the second largest of Rome’s four papal basilicas

Basilica Papale di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (Basilica of St Lorenzo Outside the Walls)

Upper façade of Basilica of St Lorenzo Outside the Walls in Rome – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Restored façade … The basilica – once devastated by Allied bombing during WWII – is the final resting place of both St Lawrence, one of the first seven deacons of Rome, and Pope Pius XI

Sant’Andrea della Valle

The stunning artwork decorating Sant'Andrea della Valle’s nave – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Phenomenal frescos … Giovanni Lanfranco’s stunning dome frescos, completed in 1627, were considered the benchmark for several decades

Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere (Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere)

13th-century mosaics in rich gold colours inside the apse of Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Life of the Virgin … Magnificent 13th-century mosaics by Pietro Cavallini in the apse of Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome

Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva)

Filippino Lippi’s 15th-century frescos over the alter in Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva’s Carafa Chapel – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Rome’s only Gothic church … Visit to see Filippino Lippi’s 15th-century frescos over the alter and Michelangelo’s Christ the Redeemer statue

San Pietro in Montorio

The Tempietto in San Pietro in Montorio’s courtyard – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
The site of St Peter’s crucifixion … The Tempietto in the courtyard, considered a masterpiece of High Renaissance architecture, was built by Donato Bramante as a commemorative tomb

Santi Giovanni e Paolo

The exterior of the Santi Giovanni e Paolo church – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
Tribute to martyrdom … This ancient church built in 398 was commissioned to commemorate two Roman soldiers who were martyred by Emperor Julian the Apostate

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

The front façade of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere church – Cheapflights’ photo gallery of Rome’s most important basilicas and churches
1725 façade by Ferdinando Fuga … Of the many priceless artefacts retained by the church is a 13th-century Pietro Cavallini mural depicting Final Judgement

(Images: Basilica of St Peter – tiseb; Basilica of St John Lateran – © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons; Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva – Wknight94 / Wikimedia Commons; Basilica Papale di San Lorenzo – Panairjdde; Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere – Luca Volpi; San Pietro in Montorio – spaceodissey; Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva – Wknight94 / Wikimedia Commons)

Rome’s finest churches [photos] was last modified: September 1st, 2015 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3400 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!