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Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterno: Entry, Timings, Ticket Options with Tips for Visiting

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterno, commonly called St. John Lateran, is a significant church in Rome, Italy.

Built in the 4th century, it’s one of the oldest churches in the world and has seen many important events in Christianity.

St. John Lateran was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.

It is the Pope’s official church and holds special religious ceremonies, attracting more than a million visitors annually.

Its grand façade and ornate interiors showcase amazing Romanesque and Baroque architecture, which visitors love to admire.

Inside the Basilica, you will witness priceless artwork, sculptures, and relics that tell stories of faith and history.

Visitors mostly come here for quiet reflection and prayer, enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

Snapshot

Timings: Daily 7 am to 6.30 pm.

Last Entry: 6 pm.

Time Needed: 2 to 3 hours

Best Time: Early morning to avoid crowds and during spring for warmer, pleasant weather.

Location: Rome, Italy

Address: Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, 4, 00184 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions!

Nearest Station: San Giovanni Metro Station.

About Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, also called the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, was built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.

Pope Sylvester I consecrated the basilica, which is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.

The architecture of St. John Lateran displays a fusion of styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque influences.

The grand entrance has many decorations and statues of important religious figures that tell stories from the Bible.

The exterior of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano also has a majestic bell tower known as the Lateran Bell Tower or Campanile.

It rises to a height of over 70 meters (230 feet) and offers scenes of the surrounding cityscape.

What to Expect Inside Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

When you enter the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, you’ll be greeted by the grandeur of one of Rome’s oldest and most significant churches.

  • The Main Nave:

Start by walking down the main hall. It’s big and impressive, with tall columns and decorative designs everywhere.

  • Papal Altar:

At the end of the hall, there’s a special altar. It’s where important ceremonies happen, led by the Pope.

  • Confessionals:

Near the Papal Altar, you’ll find confessionals where visitors can participate in the process of confession, a significant ritual in the Catholic faith.

  • Side Chapels:

Along the sides of the hall, there are small rooms called chapels. Each one is dedicated to a different saint and has pretty pictures and statues.

  • Baptistery:

Move towards the Baptistery, located within the Basilica complex. Here, you’ll find a big water bowl where countless individuals have been baptized throughout history.

  • Cloister:

Take a break in the quiet garden area. It’s peaceful, with trees and plants all around. You can relax and enjoy the calm atmosphere.

  • Sancta Sanctorum:

It is an old chapel containing sacred artifacts, including the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs), believed to have been climbed by Jesus during his Passion.

  • Treasury:

Visit the Treasury, where valuable religious artifacts and treasures are displayed.

Admire intricate gold and silverwork and ancient manuscripts housed within this revered space.

  • Crypt:

Underneath the church, there’s a basement area called the crypt. It’s where they bury important people from the church’s history. 

  • Outdoor Spaces: 

Before concluding your tour, take a moment to explore the outdoor spaces surrounding the basilica, including the Lateran Palace and the majestic obelisk in the adjacent square.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano Free Entry

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano Free Entry
Image: Tiqets.com

As a sacred site and a place of worship, the Basilica di San Giovanni offers free entry to visitors.

While the main basilica is open to all without charge, visitors must have a ticket to explore the cloisters and other areas of the basilica.

Additionally, buying tickets can help skip the lines, ensuring a smoother and more efficient entry process, particularly during busy periods.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano Ticket Options

While entry to the basilica is generally free, specific areas have restricted access.

So, for a more in-depth experience, consider audio-guided tours, special access tickets or combo options.

Let’s have a look at the best ticket options available to enter the Basilica.

Basilica di San Giovanni Entry Tickets with Cloister Access:

Basilica di San Giovanni Entry Tickets with Cloister Access:
Image: Tiqets.com

The Entry ticket provides access to the Basilica’s  Cloister, Sancta Sanctum, Baptistery, Scala Sancta, and Treasure Museum.

Plan for a leisurely 2-hour visit to appreciate the basilica’s grandeur fully.

You get a complimentary audio guide in multiple languages.

This ticket is recommended for families, couples, and solo travelers interested in fully exploring Rome’s oldest basilica.

Entry Ticket Prices:

  • Adults (6 years and above): €10
  • Children( Below 6 years): Free

St. John Lateran Tour with Acess to Holy Stairs & Chapel of the Sancta:

St. John Lateran Tour with Acess to Holy Stairs & Chapel of the Sancta:
Image: Tiqets.com

Get entrance to the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and a one-hour audio-guided tour.

Climb the revered Holy Stairs, explore the sacred chapel’s stories, and admire the ancient Acheropita painting.

The ticket is perfect for those wanting a personal journey to exclusive areas of the Basilica.

Access to Holy Stairs & Chapel Ticket Prices:

  • Adults (6 years and above): €10
  • Children( Below 6 years): Free

Basilica di San Giovanni + Catacombs of Rome Guided Tour

Take a 3-hour guided tour to St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major Basilicas and see the Holy Stairs.

The tour also includes a walk through the underground Catacombs of Rome.

Benefit from multilingual guides, headsets for clear communication, and optional hotel pickup.

It is best for families, friend groups, and solo travelers interested in learning about Rome’s religious heritage with an expert.

Ticket price of Basilica di San Giovanni + Catacombs of Rome Guided Tour

  • Adults (17 years and above): €22
  • Youth (7 to 16 years):€17
  • Children ( Below 7 years): Free

Rome City Pass with Free Transport

Rome City Pass with Free Transport
Image: Getyourguide.com

Save time and money with a Rome city card offering skip-the-line access to Rome’s sites like the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Colosseum.

Get entry to the Basilica of St. John in the Lateran and cloister with multimedia audio-guide, as well as entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Enjoy free public transport with a 72-hour travel card and a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to explore the city at your own pace.

The pass is valid for 3 days from the first activation.

It is ideal for travelers seeking a comprehensive Rome experience, including couples, families, and groups of friends.

Rome City Pass Prices:

  • Adults (18 years and above): €22
  • Children (6 to 17 years):€17
  • Infants ( Below 6 years): Free

Why Book Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano Ticket Online?

Booking Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano tickets online ensures convenience, saves time with skip-the-line access and guarantees entry, even during peak seasons.

You can choose your preferred visit times while booking tickets online.

Plus, you get exclusive deals and discounts that are unavailable onsite.

Additionally, amidst health concerns, online booking promotes safety measures through contactless transactions.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano Hours

The main Cathedral hours for Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano are from 7 am to 6 pm daily.

Hours for Additional Areas within the Basilica Complex:

  • Cloister:

Daily 9 am to 6 pm and last admission at 4.30 pm.

  • Baptistery:

Daily 7 am to 12.30 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm.

  • Sancta Sanctorum:

April to September: 8 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm. Closed on Sundays and Public holidays.

  • Treasury:

Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5.30 pm

Saturday: 9 am to 1 pm. 

It remains closed on Sundays.

How Long to Spend in Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Visitors generally spend two to three hours at Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano.

Time is spent visiting the cloister, Baptistery, Sancta Sanctorum, and Treasury within the Basilica.

It can take 80 minutes to see the Basilica and the Cloister and 40 minutes to visit the Sancta Sanctorum.

You must explore nearby attractions to enhance your experience.

Best Time to Visit Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

The best time to visit Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano is early morning to avoid crowds and experience a more serene atmosphere.

Weekdays, especially during the opening hours, tend to be less busy than weekends. 

  • Seasonal Considerations:

Consider visiting during the off-peak tourist seasons (fall and winter) for a more relaxed experience.

  • Religious Celebrations: 

Events like Easter, Christmas, or the feast day of St. John the Baptist (24 June) offer unique ceremonies and decorations.

How to Reach Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

St. John Lateran is located on the Caelian Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome.

The address is P.za di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4, 00184 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions!

It stands adjacent to the Lateran Palace, which once was the papal residence.

Situated to the south of the city center, it is easily accessible by various means of transportation:

By Metro:

The nearest metro station is “San Giovanni,” which is on Line A (Red Line).

From the metro station, it’s a short walk to the basilica.

By Bus:

Take the Line 714 bus from Roma Termini to Merulana/Labicana.

The journey takes approximately 18 minutes, and buses depart every 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can take the Line 85 bus from Termini to S. Giovanni In Laterano 85.

By Tram:

Tram Line 3 also provides access to the area, with stops near the basilica.

On Foot:

If you’re exploring the city on foot, the basilica is not far from popular landmarks like the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

By Taxi or Ride-Sharing:

Taxis and ride-sharing services are readily available in Rome and can drop you off directly at the basilica.

A taxi from Roma Termini to Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano takes about 3 minutes.

Tips for Visiting Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Tips for Visiting Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
Image: Getyourguide.com
  • Early Arrival: Arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds and enjoy a serene visit.
  • Modest Attire: Dress respectfully in proper attire covering shoulders. You must also cover your knees to honor the basilica’s religious significance. Know More.
  • Tour Specific Areas: Plan your visit based on your interests, exploring the main basilica, cloister, and other sections accordingly.
  • Guided Tours: Consider joining a guided tour for deeper insights into the basilica’s history and significance.
  • Photography Policies: Adhere to the basilica’s photography rules, respecting any restricted areas where you are forbidden to click pictures.
  • Attend a Mass: Experience the spiritual ambiance by attending a Mass if interested.
  • Explore Surroundings: You must explore nearby attractions such as the Lateran Palace and the Holy Stairs for a fuller experience.

Dress Code in Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Visitors are expected to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees.

This means avoiding clothing like sleeveless tops, shorts, short skirts, and revealing outfits.

The vast basilica may involve walking, so wearing comfortable shoes and clothing is advisable.

It’s respectful for both men and women to consider wearing head coverings, especially if entering areas of worship within the basilica.

If wearing a hat, it’s customary to remove it before entering the basilica or during religious services or ceremonies.

Read more.

Nearby Attractions to Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Nearby Attractions to Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
Image: Getyourguide.com

Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs):

These sacred stairs adjacent to the basilica are believed to have been climbed by Jesus during his Passion.

Pilgrims ascend these stairs on their knees as an act of devotion. Buy Tickets.

  • Lateran Obelisk:

This ancient Egyptian obelisk, standing in the square in front of the basilica, is one of the largest in Rome.

It adds to the grandeur of the basilica’s surroundings. Buy Tickets

  • Lateran Palace:

Adjacent to the basilica, the Lateran Palace houses the Lateran Museum and the Lateran Baptistery. Buy Tickets.

Beyond the splendor of Basilica di San Giovanni’s surroundings, let’s look at the other popular attractions just a few steps away to complement your visit.

AttractionDistance from Basilica di San Giovanni
Archbasilica of St. Mary Major2 km (1.2 miles)
Palatine Hill2.5 km (1.6 miles)
Roman Forum3 km (1.9 miles)
Colosseum3.2 km (2 miles)
Baths of Caracalla3.4 km (2.2 miles)
Pantheon, Rome4.5 km (2.8 miles)
Catacombs of Rome5.2 km (3.1 miles)
Castel Sant’Angelo6.4 km (3.9 miles)

FAQs

Why is the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano important?

The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, also known as St. John Lateran, holds immense significance as one of the oldest churches in the world, dating back to the 4th century.

It is vital because of its status as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official seat of the Pope.

As the Pope’s cathedral, it holds special religious ceremonies and events, making it a focal point for Catholics globally.

Is Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano free?

Entry to the main basilica is free for all visitors.
However, access to certain areas within the basilica complex, such as the cloister, requires tickets.

Do you need tickets for Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano?

While entry to the main basilica is free, specific areas like the cloisters, baptistery, and sancta sanctorum require entry tickets.

Visitors must purchase tickets for areas beyond the main basilica, with prices starting at €10 for adults and free entry for children under 6 years old.

How to visit San Giovanni in Laterano?

San Giovanni in Laterano, located in Rome, Italy, is easily accessible by various means of transportation.

Visitors can reach the basilica by metro, bus, tram, taxi, or even on foot.

The nearest metro station is “San Giovanni” on Line A, and several bus and tram stops are nearby.

What is the dress code for St. John Lateran?

Visitors must dress modestly when visiting St. John Lateran, covering their shoulders and knees as a sign of respect for the religious significance of the basilica.
Sleeveless tops, shorts, short skirts, and revealing outfits are prohibited inside the basilica.

How old is the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano?

The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, constructed by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, is one of the oldest churches in the world.

It boasts a rich history that spans over 1,700 years.

Featured Image: Wikipedia.org

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