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Sant'Andrea della Valle


Many architects got their hands on this church. Originally designed in 1524 by Giacomo della Porta, it was handed over to Carlo Maderno, who stretched the...

Corso Vittorio 6

Santi Anastasio e Vincenzo


Stand in the presence of papal innards in Santi Anastasio e Vincenzo: the liver, spleen and pancreas of every pope from Sixtus V (1585-90) to Leo XIII...

Piazza di Trevi

Santi Cosma e Damiano


This small church on the fringe of the Forum incorporates the library of Vespasian's temple of Peace and the temple of Romulus (visible through the glass...

Via dei Fori Imperiali 1

Santi Giovanni e Paolo


In the fourth century, a church was built over the house (and probably the bones) of John and Paul, two officers at the Imperial court who were martyred in...

Piazza Santi Giovanni e Paolo 13

Santi Quattro Coronati

Critics' choice

The secret places in the basilica of the Four Crowned Saints make it a good candidate for dragging listless kids to. The church dates from the fourth...

Via dei Santi Quattro 20

Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti


The first church on this site was founded by St Sylvester in the fourth century. It was in that earlier church in 325 that the findings of the Council of...

Viale del Monte Oppio 28

Sant'Ignazio di Loyola


Sant'Ignazio was begun in 1626 to commemorate the canonisation of St Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit order. Trompe l'oeil columns soar above the nave, and...

Piazza Sant'Ignazio

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza


You can peer, and wander, into the magnificent Renaissance courtyard of the state archives, but pick a Sunday morning to do real justice to this crowning...

Corso Rinascimento 40

Santo Stefano Rotondo


Perhaps inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, this unusual round church dates from the fifth century; in its measurements, some say,...

Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo 7

Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) & Sancta Sanctorum


According to tradition, these steps (now covered with wooden plants) are the very ones Jesus climbed in the house of Pontius Pilate only to see the Roman...

Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano

St Peter's (Basilica di San Pietro)


After 120 years as a building site, the current St Peter's was consecrated on 18 November 1626 by Urban VIII - exactly 1,300 years after the consecration of...

Piazza San Pietro
Major venue

Tempietto di Bramante & San Pietro in Montorio


High up on the Gianicolo, on one of the spots where St Peter is believed to have been crucified (St Peter's is another), San Pietro in Montorio conceals one...

Piazza San Pietro in Montorio 2

Tempii di Ercole & Portuno (Temples of Hercules & Portunus)


Like the Pantheon, these diminutive Republican-era temples owe their good state of preservation to their conversion into churches in the Middle Ages. The...

Piazza della Bocca della Verità 18

Vatican Museums (Musei vaticani)

Attractions, Museums

It's a brisk ten-minute walk around the Vatican walls from St Peter's to the Vatican Museums. Begun by Pope Julius II in 1503, this immense collection...

Viale del Vaticano
Major venue