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4 star rating: Recommended 144 Reviews

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  • Location:Rome, Italy
  • Duration:3 hours (approx.)

Christian Rome Afternoon Tour

Explore the highlights of early Christian Rome on this 3-hour coach and walking tour. With an expert guide, visit the magnificent Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Basilica of St John Lateran, two of Rome’s great ancient churches. View the Holy Stairs; the 28 marble steps that Jesus is said to have climbed to his trial; and follow the ancient Appian Way to visit Rome’s ancient catacombs. Descend into these eerie tunnels used as cemeteries and hideouts by the early Christians and witness first hand their burial niches, frescoes and other hidden treasures.


  • 3-hour coach and walking tour of Rome’s early Christian highlights with an expert guide
  • Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s five great ancient basilicas
  • See its gold mosaics, marble columns and richly decorated chapels
  • View the Holy Stairs, said to have been climbed by Jesus to his trial in Pontius Pilate’s palace
  • Admire the ornate Basilica of St John Lateran, the first church built in Rome
  • Explore the tunnels used as burial places and hideouts by Rome’s early Christians

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What You Can Expect

Christian Rome Afternoon Tour

Admire the ornate Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica on this 3-hour Rome tour

Meet your guide in central Rome or enjoy a pickup from your central Rome hotel. Then, board your air-conditioned coach to start your 3-hour tour.

Get an interesting lowdown on Rome’s Christian heritage from your guide as you head to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore on Esquiline Hill. Dating from the 5th century, this magnificent church is one of Rome’s five great ancient basilicas, and considered second only to St Peter’s Basilica for beauty.

Marvel at the exterior façade and hear how the church was among the first dedicated to the Virgin Mary that sprang up across the Roman Empire in the 400s.

Then, head inside to admire the interior. See the stately columns and sumptuous chapels, and view the golden mosaics, many depicting the life of Christ.

Continue to the Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta), the 28 marble steps that, according to legend, Jesus climbed to his trial in Pontius Pilate’s palace. View the wood-encased stairs and then visit the ornate Basilica of St John Lateran, the church that was dedicated to Christ in 318 and the first to be built in Rome.

Next, trace the Appian Way, the famous ancient Roman road, passing the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis, reputed to stand where St Peter saw a vision of the risen Christ.

Arrive at Rome’s catacombs – the nearly 186 miles (300 kilometers) of tunnels used as burial chambers and hideouts by early Christians. Then, depending on accessibility, explore the San Castillo, Santa Domitilla or San Sebastiano tunnels to see the burial niches, frescoes and other treasures lying inside.

Lastly, take in views of the Baths of Emperor Caracalla, the ruins of a 3rd-century Roman bathhouse. Then, end your tour at the start point or your choice of several city-center locations.

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Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

I loved the afternoon Christian tour. Our guide Theresa was just perfect, she took great care of all the people . She knew so many answers. This tour could have lasted longer. We saw so many beautiful churches. We enjoyed the catacombs also. What a wonderful experience . You must see to believe. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Excellent tour! Guide was very knowledgeable! Very somber experience! Glad my daughter and I did the tour to appreciate what churches went through in the past. One annoyance - visitors who do not respect the rules! When asked NOT to take photos - means NO PHOTOS! This is one way Rome has been able to keep and maintain the infrastructures for next generations to see and appreciate. When this happened, the visitors should be reprimanded, embarrassed in front of the crowd and/or removed from the group!!! How rude and selfish these visitors are!!!! There should be someone at the end of the line for the tour, so that those who are at the end of the line taking photos will be caught. Why would any one want to take photos of burial grounds - disgusting!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

So glad we did this. Tour guides were very knowledgeable!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Very good way to see several different, widely diverse religious sites. Guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Would have taken 3-4 times longer to take public transportation to get to the different sites on this tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Wonderful, small group....terrific guide!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

Outstanding and uplifting tour. Our guide was knowledgeable and allowed us time to take everything in.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

Excellent guide, Chiarra..........My husband and I loved this tour. Great to see the catacombs and also the beautiful basilica of St. John of Lateran and Santa Maria de Maggoria. Our guide was very imformative and we especially loved the tour company pickup at the hotel and drop off very near our hotel when the tour was over.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

Good guide good trip

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2013

Tour was amazing, not long enough to see everything, needs to be a couple of hours longer, felt a little rushed. I would recommend doing this trip early in your visit so you can go back to the churches and spend more time. We did this on the last day - now we will just have to go back to Rome to see it again! :)

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2013

Our guide on the bus was very knowledgeable and her English was quite clear. Thank you for providing hotel pick-up service!

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Tour code: 2390GRET4


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