The beginning and the development of Christianity in Rome (Tour 1)
Duration: 2 h

The first itinerary is predominantly dedicated to the Emperor Constantine (306-337), the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Catholic Church. The legendary story of Constantine is narrated in two different fresco cycles: in the beautiful Oratory of S. Sylvester and in the Baptistry of S. Giovanni in Laterano, where, according to the legend, Constantine was baptized by Pope Silvester I. S. Giovanni in Laterano the first Christian Basilica was constructed by Constantine. Before the Pope’s move to Avignon in 1309, the adjoining Lateran Palace was the official papal residence, and until 1870 all popes were crowned in that church. Today the church retains its original shape, but it has been destroyed by fire twice and rebuilt several times. Borromini undertook the last major restoration of the interior in 1646, and the main façade is an 18th Century addition. Adjacent to the church there is the Scala Santa, the staircase said to be that which Christ ascended in Pontius Pilate’s house during his trial, which were supposedly brought from Jerusalem by St. Helena. St Clemente ranks among the most beautiful and interesting medieval churches in Rome: firstly because of its rich, inner decoration with the wonderful mosaic, pavement and the frescoes of Masolino da Panicale; secondly because of the multilevel archaeological discoveries below the church, that lead us from a church built in the 4th century, to an ancient Roman house and to a temple of the Mithras cult.

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