The Basilica St. John the Lateran, also knowns as San Giovanni in Laterano, is the oldest of the four major Basilicas in Rome. With a rich history dating back to AD 324 the Basilica has endured several attacks and fires over the past few thousand years, making it the oldest church in Rome. Relics of Peter and Paul can also be found here. Perhaps the most exciting site here, is the Pope’s chair or Ecclesiastical Seat of the Bishop of Rome, which serves as a glorious centerpiece to this stunning Basilica. The Basilica is the official Cathedral of Rome as it the true seat of the Bishop of Rome, (the Pope). From the 4th through 14th centuries it was the home and residence of all the Popes, until they moved to Avignon, France. Returning to Rome in 1377, the Popes made 'Vatican City' their new home. Between the 12th and 16th centuries five Ecumenical Councils were held in the Cathedral. The artwork at St. John Lateran is breathtaking. In the Baptistery are the remains of Sts. Cyprian, Giustina, Rufina and Secunda.
When to visit: Open to the public from 7 AM – 6 PM daily
Accommodations: There are hundreds of 4 and 5 star hotels in central Rome.