Basilica di San Giovanni
Basilica of St John Lateran © Juan Salmoral
The Basilica of St John Lateran was built in the 4th century by Constantine the Great and was the first church built in Rome. As the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, it ranks above all other Roman Catholic churches. The official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope, it's here where he celebrates Mass on certain religious holidays. The building is characterised by its 18th-century façade, containing several important relics, a 13th-century cloister and an ancient baptistery. Inside are numerous statues and paintings, the High Altar that can only be used by the Pope and a cedar table that is said to be the one used by Christ at the Last Supper. Across the street is one of the holiest sites in Christendom: the Palace of the Holy Steps, believed to be the 28 marble steps of Pontius Pilate's villa. They have been in Rome since 1589.
Address: Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano
Opening times: Open daily from 7am to 6.30pm
Admission: Basilica is free but €2 for entrance to the Cloister