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Explore the highlights of early Christian Rome with this exciting 3-hour afternoon walking tour via foot and coach.  Led by a knowledgeable driver-guide, get an insider's view of the Eternal City and its Christian history. Stops include the Basilica of Sant Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. And then go underground by checking out the intriguing catacombs, an early Christian burial spot just outside of the city at the Appian Way.

Highlights

  • 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

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Christian Rome Afternoon Tour

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

This 3-hour afternoon guided tour of Christian Rome is an excellent way to learn the history of the faith and the city. After getting picked up at your hotel and meeting your guide, learn about the early history of the Church in Rome and how the city was a major influence on Christianity today. 

Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a cavernous 5th-century church that today has a Baroque appearance. Stroll around the huge church with your guide learning about the history of the building and then head to San Giovanni in Laterano, otherwise known as the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the historic and official church of the pope. Go inside and walk around and then head next door to the Lateran Palace where the supposed steps of Pontius Pilate, known from the Biblical account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, exist. Today pilgrims ascend the 28 steps on their knees. 

At the top of the steps is the Holy of Holies, otherwise known as the Sancta Sanctorum, the erstwhile resting place for some of the most legendary relics in Church history: a chunk of the table that held the Last Supper, the heads of Saints Peter and Paul and the Holy Foreskin, the only piece of flesh Christ could have conceivably left on Earth, said to have been given to Pope Leo III by Charles the Great in 800 AD.

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

monicaidelis

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This tour was amazing!

monicaidelis

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This tour was amazing!

Alice M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Tour made it easy to see the catacombs which are hard to reach on public transportation which was why I chose it. Glad that it also included St Mary Major and St John in Lateran and guide led those of us interested through the Holy Doors of each. Guide was knowledgeable and careful to keep us together, spoke English clearly.

Nancy G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Excellent guide really enjoyed the catacombs fairly small group could hear well.

Arthur F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Great tour and excellent guide. Very informative and put up with all my questions. If you like Christian history then this should be a must tour when in Rome.

William B C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Our guide was friendly, good sense of humor, very knowledgeable. The church stops were very interesting and exceeded expectations.

justcurious85

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Absolutely astounding. We were the only ones at our tour so it made it more personal. We were very lucky due to it was a Jubilee year of Mercy - thus we were able to walk through the Holy Doors that normally happens every 25 years. St. John's was breathtaking, honestly pictures doesn't due it justice. St Mary Major was as beautiful in it's own way.

Our guide I can't remember her name, but she was think with brown hair, was to helpful and showed/shared with us information we would have past by if it wasn't for her. The catacombs were amazing bring a sweater since it gets cold down there. Everyone should visit the catacombs to fully understand the Christian and Pegan religion relationship. Wonderful.

Dorothy D

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

Veena R

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!

chip_porr

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

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

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