by Philip Greenspun; created 1995

Home : Travel : Italy : Lateran


The highlight of the Lateran district is San Giovanni in Laterno, a cathedral notable for its interior by Borromini (1646) and 18th-century facade. Before the Pope moved to Avignon in 1309, his official residence was in a palace (since destroyed) in this region. Until 1870, all popes were crowned in this church.

Scala Santa

At Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, 14, a 1589 building houses two relics from the Lateran Palace: the pope's private chapel and a staircase that Jesus ascended in Pontius Pilate's house during his trial. Catholics climb these 28 steps on their knees, especially on Good Friday.