The Major Basilicas Excursion


The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican 

    It goes without saying that St. Peter Basilica is the most recognizable and famous church in Rome. The church marks the burial spot of St. Peter, who the Roman authorities martyred circa 67 A.D. On this excursion, you will learn the unique history of the development of the Vatican from ancient times up until today. Constantine commissioned the building of the first St. Peter Basilica, which was dedicated in 326 A.D. This church lasted for a millennia until deterioration necessitated the building of a new structure. Started during the Renaissance and finished during the Baroque era, the current church of St. Peter Basilica is a unique testament to the greatest architecture and art the world has ever known.  At this church you will learn the story of St. Peter’s ministry and martyrdom in Rome, as well as the connection of the the contemporary papacy to the Vatican.


The Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls 

    Like St. Peter Basilica, Constantine commissioned the building of St. Paul Basilica.  Off of the ancient Ostian Way, the church marks the burial place of St. Paul and is a great example of how an ancient Roman basilica would have appeared. The church is famed for its circular mosaic images of the popes, a cross said to have spoke to St. Bridget of Sweden, the Arnolfo di Cambio baldachin, and four beautiful chapels off of the transepts. At this church you will learn about the life of St. Paul and his time in the Eternal City.


The Papal Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran 

    The technical title of this church is the Major Papal and Roman Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran. As a Latin inscription indicates on the facade, the Lateran is the Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World. You will learn the history of the Lateran complex as well as why this church, and not St. Peter Basilica, is Rome’s most important church. The Lateran houses statues of apostles by the school of Bernini, relics of the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul, and a section of the altar said to have been used at the last supper.


The Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major 

    St. Mary Major, or Santa Maria Maggiore as it is know to the Romans, is Rome’s primary church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. You will discover the unique history of this church, including the legend of Our Lady of the Snows and the relationship of this church to the development of Marian doctrine. St. Mary Major is home to the relics of St. Jerome and Pope St. Pius V, as well as Rome’s most important icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani. The church also houses a reliquary that, according to tradition, holds pieces of the manger where Mary set baby Jesus after his birth.



    This excursion is available Monday to Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

    This excursions lasts 5 to 6½ hours.

    There will be a stop for a lunch break along the way.

    Transportation: Rome’s Metro.


Please note: 

    Urbs Sacra is an apostolate and not a tour company or travel agency. Instead of charging a specific price for an excursion, Urbs Sacra requests a donation from participants and offers a suggested scale for donations. Some people give more than the suggested scale and some give less than the suggested scale. What you offer is up to you. We do not want anyone to be turned away because of budgetary constraints or limited means. Likewise, those who feel compelled to give generously certainly are welcome to do so.


Suggested Donation for the excursion:


        1 - 2 people suggested donation: 250 to 300 Euro

        3 - 4 people suggested donation: 275 to 325 Euro

        5 - 6 people suggested donation: 300 to 350 Euro

        7 - 8 people suggested donation: 325 to 375 Euro

        Please inquire for larger groups.

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