For over a thousand years, Rome has been a major global hub for religion, notably the Catholic branch of Christianity, and it is host to some of the oldest churches in the world. The four most important Roman Catholic cathedrals are referred to as major basilicas. Despite the fact that they are all in the archdiocese of Rome, only St Peter's Basilica is situated in Vatican City, under the authority of the Holy See, whereas the other three are in Italian land. Each of these magnificent churches, which are among the most outstanding worldwide, houses a pair of sacred doors that are unlocked during each Jubilee Year. Pilgrims and visitors from all over the world are inspired by the architecture and art found within them.


The four main churches are the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, St. Peter's Cathedral, Church of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore; all other churches termed "Basilica" are Minor Basilicas. Let us have a glance at Rome's four major cathedrals and take a tour of them.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the center of the Vatican and is among the tallest church buildings in the world. It is Catholicism's most prominent and largest religious establishment. St. Peter's Basilica may not be the earliest Catholic cathedral in Rome, but it is undoubtedly the most renowned. The church stands where the first pope, St. Peter, is thought to have been crucified.

The current basilica took almost 150 years to complete, but it was well worth waiting. Works by great Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, who further sculpted the dome, can be seen throughout the elaborate interior. The basilica, and its adjacent chapels and galleries, should be enjoyed rather than rushed around.

Visiting The Church

  • Location: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
  • Timings: 7 am To 7 pm
  • Early morning between 7 and 9 am, is generally the ideal time to visit without masses.
  • The cathedral and grottoes are free to visit.
  • Tourists who are not appropriately dressed will not be permitted to enter the basilica.
  • When touring Saint Peter's, avoid wearing shorts, short dresses, or sleeveless tops, and bring a scarf or other cover-up. Those rules apply to both male and female tourists.

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St Paul Outside The Walls

The Cathedral of St. Paul Outside the Walls, with its majestic Byzantine construction, is among Rome's four major basilicas and the second biggest cathedral after St. Peter's. Emperor Constantine I, built this neoclassical cathedral over the gravesite of St Paul in the fourth century, and it is the world's tenth-largest, encompassing over 8,500 square meters. It is extremely magnificent, with gleaming mosaics on the exterior and massive columns lining the interior.

The lovely monastery courtyard was built between 1220 and 1241. The church was nearly completely burned to the ground due to fire in 1823, but thanks to Pope Leo XII's appeal for funds, it was rebuilt just as it had been and reopened in 1840. The church's stained glass windows were shattered by a gunpowder blast in 1891 and have subsequently been substituted with more robust reproductions of transparent alabaster.

Visiting The Church

  • Location: Piazzale San Paolo, 1, 00146 Roma RM, Italy
  • Timings: 7 am To 6:30 pm
  • The Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls is absolutely free to visit.
  • The outfit code for Rome's cathedral is the same as in the Vatican, including below-the-knee skirts or shorts, draped shoulders, and modest attire as defined by the church.

St. John Lateran

One of Rome's four major basilicas is San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran). It is the residence church for both the archbishop of Rome and the pope and is devoted to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. It is regarded as the Roman Catholic faithful's mother church.

The church has played a significant role in history. All popes were seated in the Cathedral of St. John Lateran up until 1870. It is recognized as the world's and Rome's church. It is thought to be the city's earliest Catholic church. Its facade isn't as elegant as other cathedrals, but once visitors enter inside, they will be amazed! It's elaborate, with wall hangings, pillars, mosaics, and frescoes; even the candlesticks have prophetic figures.

Visiting The Church

  • Location: 2.5 miles outside of Vatican City in Rome.
  • Timings: Daily 9 am To 4:30 pm
  • The best time to see the cathedral is early in the morning when there are fewer people.
  • The cathedral is free to visit.

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Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, sometimes known as the Crowning Glory of Rome, is among the most significant Catholic churches in the city. It is the world's oldest and biggest shrine to the Virgin Mary. The church houses a large collection of relics and works of art that depict Rome's Christian art civilization. Pilgrims from all over the world visit the basilica, which has a religious history across all the stained glass windows, pillars, and fresco. On August 5, visitors to Rome may choose to witness the Wonder of the Snows festival, which features thousands of white blossoms falling from the roof.

The museum's rich treasures make St. Mary Major a location where artwork and spirituality come together in perfect harmony, providing visitors with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to contemplate man's pieces of art inspired by God.

Visiting The Church

  • Location: di Santa Maria Maggiore, 00100 Roma RM, Italy
  • Timings: 7 am To 6:45 pm
  • The cathedral is free to visit.
  • Tourists should dress appropriately, with shoulders and knees covered.

These four great churches in Rome are unquestionably awe-inspiring to see. While discovering their heritage, tourists and pilgrims will be captivated by their architectural design.