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Point of interests in Rome

TitleSan Giovanni in Laterano
Address00184 Lazio Roma Piazza di Porta San Giovanni Piazza
TimeIV – XVIII sec.
DescriptionThe Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, the seat of the bishop of Rome, of very ancient origins, was founded by the emperor Constantine, who consecrated the building to the Saviour at the beginning of his reign, probably immediately after his triumph in the battle of Ponte Milvio in 312. The current appearance of the building, the heart of the Lateran complex that includes the Papal Palace, the Hospital and the nearby Baptistry, was the result of innumerable building works that have followed over time: while some elements of Constantine’s basilica came to light during the excavations conducted from the middle of the nineteenth century, information about other interventions comes from written sources and iconographic representations of the complex. The current façade, facing east, is formed of a monumental portico designed by Alessandro Galilei (1691-1737): the colossal order of parastades and Corinthian semi-columns support a trabeation with central tympanum and a balustrade crowned with fifteen statues of Christ, the saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist and the doctors of the Church. The interior of the basilica, with five naves, transept and central apse, was conceived by Borromini (1599-1667), who also designed a facade although the project was never completed. The northern end of the transept, which faces onto Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, is partially hidden by the Loggia della Benedizione, a portico of two orders with parastades, built by Sisto V (Felice Peretti 1585-1590) in 1586.


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