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Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) and Chapel of San Lorenzo Tours

Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) and Chapel of San Lorenzo
Among the most sacred Catholic sites in Rome, the Scala Santa (or Holy Stairs) is a solemn destination for believers from pilgrims to popes, who climb the 28 marble steps on their knees in devotion. Believed to have once led to Pontius Pilate’s praetorium, the stairs are said to have been climbed by Jesus on his way to trial. 
 
The Basics
St. Helena is believed to have taken the Scala Santa to Rome in the year 326 as a gift to her son, the emperor Constantine, who was building the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The stairs were installed in the Lateran Palace complex to lead to the Chapel of San Lorenzo, which contains some of the holiest relics in Christian history and is decorated with frescoed scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Pilgrims today climb a nearby replica of the Scala Santa, as the original staircase is closed to visitors.

The Scala Santa is a highlight of Christian Rome and Passion of Christ tours, led by a guide to best illustrate the historical and religious importance of early Christian landmarks. Some tours also include skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunscreen if you’re joining a walking tour of Christian Rome, as you’ll be outdoors for long stretches.
  • Knees and shoulders must be covered to access the Scala Santa replica and Chapel of San Lorenzo.
  • Photography isn’t allowed.
  • The Scala Santa replica isn’t accessible to wheelchairs.
  • Visitors who can’t ascend the stairs on their knees are allowed to kneel on the lowest step and walk up the remaining stairs.
 
How to Get There
The Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo are part of the Basilica of St. John Lateran complex, about a 5-minute walk from the San Giovanni metro station on Line A.
 
When to Get There
Rome’s holy sites, including the St. John Lateran complex and Scala Santa, are especially crowded during Catholic holidays and Jubilee years; if possible, visit outside of these popular periods.
 
The Chapel of San Lorenzo (Sancta Sanctorum)
The first private papal chapel, the Chapel of San Lorenzo is known as the Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies) because it houses a reliquary said to contain the bones of at least 13 saints. The chapel also contains other precious relics, including an icon of Christ Pantocrator.

Practical Info

Scala Sancta (the Holy Stairs) is open daily from 6 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm. There is no charge for admission, and no reservation needed. To access the Sancta Sanctorum there is a €3.50 admission fee.  Both are located in the Rione Monti of Rome at Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano 14. The closest metro stop is San Giovanni.
Address: Scala Sancta, Rome, Italy
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17 Tours and Activities to Experience Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) and Chapel of San Lorenzo

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Skip the Line to Vatican Treasures, Sistine Chapel and Optional Upgrade with LunchDay Trips

Skip the Line to Vatican Treasures, Sistine Chapel and Optional Upgrade with Lunch

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Spend a morning or an afternoon at the Vatican with this 2-hour skip-the-line tour of the Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel) and St. Peter's Basilica. Get an up close and personal look at Michelangelo's masterpiece, his murals in the Sistine Chapel that changed the history of painting forever. See Raphael's cherubs. Gawk at the Gallery of Maps. Explore St. Peter's Basilica. And if you want more, upgrade to a full-day tour and visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Catacombs and more. Lunch can also be included.
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Booked by 6,563 travelers
  • 9 hours
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$66.78 
From  
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  • 9 hours
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Passion of Christ Walking Tour in RomeHalf-day Tours

Passion of Christ Walking Tour in Rome

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View items related to the passion and death of Jesus Christ during this 3-hour tour in Rome. Visit the Basilica of St Mary Major to see fragments of the wood from the manger where Jesus was born and explore San Prassede, which features pieces of the pillar upon which Christ was flogged. At the Basilica of Santa Croce, see fragments of the true cross and a nail of the crucifixion. Along the tour, learn about the history of these sacred religious objects from your guide. All entrance fees are included.
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Booked by 225 travelers
  • 3 hours
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$75.36 
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  • 3 hours
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Between Holy DoorsCultural Tours

Between Holy Doors

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In this tour, you will experience the “Basilica Maior” for Saint Mary “Santa Maria Maggiore” that contains one of the four sacred doors. Followed by “San Pietro in Vincoli” where you will behold the statue of Moses by Michelangelo and the miracle-working chains of Saint Peter. After a beautiful view of the “Colosseo”, two of the oldest churches of the city will be visited “Santi Quattro Coronati”, with the legend of Pope Sylvester and “San Clemente”. The tour culminates with the visit of the “Basilica Maior” and Archbasilica “San Giovanni in Laterano – Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World”
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  • 3 to 4 hours
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  • 3 to 4 hours
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Private Tour: Christian RomeHalf-day Tours

Private Tour: Christian Rome

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Step into the early days of Christian history on a private, 6-hour tour of Rome’s holy sites, and experience the city where Constantine, St. Peter and St. Paul lived and preached. Discover the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of St. John Lateran and Pontius Pilate's steps, an important pilgrimage site. See millennia-old relics treasured by saints and Popes, then head to the below-ground Catacombs for a tour of the tunnels where generations of Christian martyrs were buried and remembered.
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Booked by 75 travelers
  • 6 hours
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  • 6 hours
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Rome Walking Tour of Holy Sites: Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, San Giovanni in Laterano and Scala SantaCultural Tours

Rome Walking Tour of Holy Sites: Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, San Giovanni in Laterano and Scala Santa

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Seek out the religious gems of Rome on a 2-hour, small-group walking tour. In a group that’s limited to just 15 people, you’ll visit the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, the Scala Santa, and the Basilica of the Holy Cross with a guide. Hear stories about the sacred relics inside the monuments, and discover a side of Rome that many visitors miss.
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Booked by 51 travelers
  • 2 hours
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From  
$111.30 
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From  
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  • 2 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from RomeFull-day Tours

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from Rome

Visit several of the most venerated Catholic sites in Rome, accompanied by a private driver and guide. Trace the history of Roman Christianity as you visit ancient catacombs, churches, sacred stairs, and more, including a stop inside the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church. Enjoy the comfort of private transportation in a Mercedes, and commemorate your time in Vatican City with a papal blessing on parchment paper.
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  • 8 hours
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From  
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Cristian Catacombs & Basilicas Small groupsHalf-day Tours

Cristian Catacombs & Basilicas Small groups

Explore the Christian Catacombs & the Basilicas This tour starts with a visit to two of the Four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Mary Major, the most important and best preserved of the Roman Churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with its fifth-century mosaics; and St. John’s in Lateran, Cathedral of Rome and first Papal residence. After a stop at the Holy Stairs, we proceed to the ancient Appian Way, probably the most important of the Roman roads, until we reach the Catacombs of Rome, the ancient underground cemeteries and extraordinary expression of faith to the earliest Christians.
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  • 3 hours
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$104.34 
From  
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  • 3 hours
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Christian Rome TourHalf-day Tours

Christian Rome Tour

See Rome's most important Christian sites with this half-day tour. You'll visit the Basilica di San Clemente, built on three levels, the Basilica of San John Lateran, the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs), and the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, all with an expert English-speaking guide with deep knowledge of ecclesiastical traditions.
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  • 4 hours
From  
$695.62 
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From  
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  • 4 hours

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from RomeFull-day Tours

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from Rome

We are immensely pleased to lead to you to visit the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome. Included one Papal Blessing on Parchment in English. • Saint John Lateran • The Holy Stairs • Saint Mary Major • Saint Paul Outside the Walls • St. Peter’s Basilica (if and when open) • One Christian Catacomb (Skip-The-Line tickets included) Lunch included in a tipical Roman Restaurant. Upgradable with Official Licensed Expert Tour Guide (in Private option) Pickup and dropoff will be at your accommodation in Rome. Private or Shared Tour available options. Worry-Free and Safe Private Tour Experience, operated only with: • Expert Professional English-Speaking Drivers • Selected local Expert Licensed Tour Guides (when booked) • Welcoming by private licensed fully-insured air-conditioned comfortable Vehicles
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
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From  
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Easter in Rome Semi-Private TourHalf-day Tours

Easter in Rome Semi-Private Tour

Celebrate Easter in Rome on this religio-historical tour focused on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Traveling with a small group of just 15 people or fewer means you'll get personalized attention from your guide and plenty of chances to ask questions. Highlights include the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the Basilica of Santa Prassede, the church of St. Alfonso Ligouri, the Cathedral of Rome, and others.
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Booked by 5 travelers
  • 3 hours
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From  
$65.67 
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From  
$65.67 
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Full Day Cristian Catacombs & Ancient Rome - Pick up and Lunch includedFull-day Tours

Full Day Cristian Catacombs & Ancient Rome - Pick up and Lunch included

This tour starts with a visit to two of the Four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Mary Major, the most important and best preserved of the Roman Churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with its fifth-century mosaics; and St. John’s in Lateran, Cathedral of Rome and first Papal residence. After a stop at the Holy Stairs, we proceed to the ancient Appian Way, probably the most important of the Roman roads, until we reach the Catacombs of Rome, the ancient underground cemeteries and extraordinary expression of faith to the earliest Christians. After lunch, Walking through history: visit the Colosseum, symbol of the ancient Roman times, and its surrounding area, the most important and beautiful archaeological site in the world.The Palatine Hill, where the city of Rome was founded became. For centuries, the Roman Forum was the center of public and economic life, where the most important structures of the ancient city were located.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas and Lunch Shore Excursion from CivitavecchiaFull-day Tours

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas and Lunch Shore Excursion from Civitavecchia

We are immensely pleased to lead to you to visit the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome. Included one Papal Blessing on Parchment in English. • Saint John Lateran • The Holy Stairs • Saint Mary Major • Saint Paul Outside the Walls • St. Peter’s Basilica (if and when open) • One Christian Catacomb (Skip-The-Line tickets included) Lunch included in a tipical Roman Restaurant. Upgradable with Official Licensed Expert Tour Guide (in Private option) Pickup and dropoff will be at your ship. Private or Shared Tour available options. Worry-free Shore Excursion: We will ensure your timely return to Cruise Port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. See terms and conditions for full details.
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  • 9 hours
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From  
$255.99 
Price varies by group size
From  
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Price varies by group size
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  • 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas and Lunch Shore Excursion from CivitavecchiaFull-day Tours

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas and Lunch Shore Excursion from Civitavecchia

Visit the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome on this all-day shore excursion. Choose between a self-guided tour or a customized tour with a guide. The itinerary may include visits to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Holy Stairs, St. Peter’s Basilica, Christian Catacombs on the Ancient Appian Way, and more.
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  • 9 hours
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$255.99 
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From  
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  • 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

THE BIG FOUR - Itinerary Dedicated to the Papal Basilica of RomeDay Trips

THE BIG FOUR - Itinerary Dedicated to the Papal Basilica of Rome

Rome is the world capital of Christianity and since the 5th-century 4 basilicas have been recognized as the major Papal ones of the city. Generations of pilgrims experienced the feeling of walking on the footsteps of the Saints who made the history of Christian religion, such as the first Pope, Saint Peter or the great Apostle of Gentiles Saint Paul. The importance of these sites is not only religious , but dued to the beauty and the historical significance. Kings, emperors and great women during the centuries have inked their names with the four Papal basilicas of Rome. During this tour your party will have the opportunity to have a tour of each interior with a professional specialist guide. At the end of the tour, after having seen with your eyes the gems of Christian religious architecture and art, you'll be in the heart of the city, ready for whatever you want (glass of wine, pint of beer, gelato).
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  • 5 to 6 hours
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From  
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  • 5 to 6 hours
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Christian Rome: visit the three Basilicas PapalHalf-day Tours

Christian Rome: visit the three Basilicas Papal

Tour to the discovery of the most sacred places of Christianity: the three Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome of San Juan de Letrán, San Pablo Extramuros and Santa María la Mayor.
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  • 4 hours
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From  
$309.16 
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From  
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  • 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Vatican Museums and Christian RomeDay Trips

Vatican Museums and Christian Rome

Take your chance to visit the Vatican Museums that represent together with   the Sixtine Chapel one of the biggest and interesting museum complex of the world and enrich your experience spending a little time in the in the places of the Apostles, Martyrs and Saints.
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Booked by 5 travelers
  • 7 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
$146.91 
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  • 7 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Christian Rome Major Basilicas and Catacombs 3 Hour TourHalf-day Tours

Christian Rome Major Basilicas and Catacombs 3 Hour Tour

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Maximize time in Rome with a half-day tour focused on major Christian landmarks. Learn about the history and architecture of several basilicas including St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. Explore the catacombs of either San Callixto or Santa Domitilla and hear stories about early Christian cemeteries. Finish the religion-themed tour with a visit to the Holy Stairs.
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Booked by 8 travelers
  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
$55.65 
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  • 3 hours
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Frequently Asked Questions

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What's the best way to experience Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) and Chapel of San Lorenzo?

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