Discover one of Rome’s most densely populated residential areas and admire a spectacular 4th-century basilica and an Ancient Roman palace.
Find some of Rome’s greatest historic buildings in San Giovanni. Tour the Lateran Palace and the Basilica of St. John Lateran. See a collection of stunning paintings and tapestries in these historic buildings. San Giovanni also has some of the city’s finest shopping areas, with boutique stores and vintage markets. Visit a community market and shop for wine, fresh fruit and vegetables.
Learn the history of the Papal States in the Lateran Palace. This grand building once belonged to Roman noblemen. It became a papal home from the 4th to the 14th centuries. The Lateran Palace now houses the Vatican Historical Museum. Tour the site with a Vatican guide and see fascinating religious documents and artworks.
Visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran, connected to the Lateran Palace and dating back to the early 4th century. Inside, notice the spectacular statues of the Apostles. Look above the sacramental altar to see what is said to be part of the table from Christ’s last supper.
Near the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the Scala Santa, a holy staircase located in the Piazza di Porta San Giovanni. It is believed that Christ ascended these stairs during his trial. See the Porta Asinaria, one of the first gates of the Aurelian Walls of Rome. In the 6th century, the armies of the Goths under Totila entered Rome from this gate and ruthlessly plundered the city.
Walk to Via Sannio and its busy market selling clothing, shoes, leather goods and other items. Shopping in San Giovanni is generally less expensive than in Rome’s more central shopping districts.
San Giovanni is known as a residential area; however, it is filled with religious relics and Roman history. Reach this historic district from the San Giovanni metro station. While in the neighborhood, enjoy a sweet Mont Blanc pastry or a profiterole from a traditional Italian bakery.