With more than 900 churches in Rome alone, it's no wonder that narrowing down the list to those which are the most worth visiting is a challenge. The great thing about Rome's abundance of churches is that many are top-rated for tourists eager to see its most impressive sacred spaces. The grand architecture and world-renowned, historic artwork doesn't even begin to cover the features visitors will find at these churches - they must be seen to be believed. Rome's most beautiful places of worship are worth adding to any Italy itinerary!
10 St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano)
Without argument from many, St. Peter's Basilica is known as the most beautiful church in all of Rome, and it's also the most well-known. Raphael, Bramante, and Michelangelo all played a role in designing this incredible basilica, featuring classic Renaissance details and artwork. After its 120-year construction, it was presented as the largest church in Christendom and one of the most visually stunning and ornate.
9 The Pantheon
The Pantheon is known as one of the most popular tourist sites in Rome thanks to its incredible preservation throughout the centuries. This temple was built to honor the gods and was rebuilt in 120 AD by Hadrian to be the architectural marvel that it is today. Its granite columns were brought in from Egypt and its dome-shaped roof is one of its defining features, known for seemingly defying all logic due to its illusionary appearance.
8 The Sistine Chapel
Tens of thousands of people visit the Sistine Chapel weekly, making it yet another one of Rome's most visited attractions. However, it's also one of the most beautiful, and top-rated, churches in the Eternal City. After four years of work, Michelangelo finished nine ceiling panels that depict Genesis. The figures depicted in the artwork seem to flow and bend, similar to how a human would if they were painted upon the ceiling, giving the entire scene a sense of fluidity to it that leaves most visitors breathless.
7 Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The unique thing about this basilica is that not only is it one of four patriarchal basilicas in Rome, but it's also the only one that has held mass consistently since the 5th century. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is also home to one of Rome's oldest mosaics, which dates back to somewhere between the 4th and 5th centuries.
6 Santa Maria del Popolo
While the Santa Maria del Popolo basilica might not be as ornate as the others, it holds artworks that are no less impressive. With original Caravaggio paintings on the walls joining the works of Raphael, Carracci, Bernini, and Pinturicchio, some of Rome's greatest renaissance artwork can be found in this church.
5 St. John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano)
St. John Lateran has a special place in Rome due to the fact that it was used as the home of the Pope prior to their residence at the Vatican. It's a classic example of baroque architecture and was built in 313, but was again rebuilt between the 16th and 17th centuries. The facade of this church is what catches the attention of many visitors, featuring statues by Alessandro Galilei carved in 1735.
4 Santa Maria in Trastevere
One of the oldest churches in Rome is Santa Maria in Trastevere. This church was built in 350 AD and is easily located in the heart of the Trastevere neighborhood. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, featuring stunning mosaic works that date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, making it a church that houses some of the oldest artwork in Rome, as well.
3 Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Those visiting the Pantheon might not realize that they're only a short walk from the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. While unsuspecting compared to its richly historic neighbor, this church features a miniature museum - the Minerva - which is worth visiting. Aside from that, this church is easily recognizable due to being the only church ever built in the Gothic style in Rome.
2 Basilica Of San Clemente
The Basilica of San Clemente has quite an architectural history, as it was originally built on top of an ancient Imperial residence. However, on top of that, a 4th-century church was built, and then, finally, the Basilica of San Clemente. Unique features of this basilica include its detailed mosaic ceiling flecked with gold in the apse. Below the basilica, visitors will find historic Christian artifacts just underneath the marble floor. Visitors can book 1-hour, 2-hour, and 2.5-hour tours.
1 Church Of St. Agnes
This 17th-century baroque-style church faces Rome's Piazza Navona, a popular gathering spot in the city. The significance of this church, besides its incredible architecture, is that it was the site of the martyrdom of the Early Christian Saint Agnes. Therefore, its spiritual significance is just as important as its historic significance in Rome, making it one of the top-rated churches in the city for a multitude of reasons.