My Lens Abroad » Capturing My Expat Adventures With My Lens

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The Amazing San Giovanni in Laterno

I passed it many times and also heard its name.  It looked beautiful from the outside, almost a bit daunting.  The facade was so large and the statues above were so large, photos do not do them true justice.

What was in the first century the palace of the Laterani, in the second became the barracks of the Imperial Guard.  Finally in the 3rd century it was Emperor Constantine, who was converted, made this a Cathedral and dedicated it to the Savior.  Over many periods it was embellished with all sorts of beautiful objects of silver and gold.  Constantine’s Baptistery remains from centuries ago in the northwestern corner.  Given it’s 1700 year history, through the centuries the building saw fires, earthquakes, vandals and had been rebuilt several times.  What remains today it breath-taking.


As you climb the steps and turn right, the portico area is overwhelming.  You turn left and you see the great statue of Constantine.  He was not always there to great his people, his statue was found among the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.  At least we know he takes pride in his appearance and personal hygiene.  The Romans were known for their baths.


Why the below?  Why this acorn?  I was fascinated by the intricate detail of this door.  It had to have been 2 stories high.  This door was taken from the Senate House in the Roman Forum and used as the door here.  Needless to say, it is not necessarily in use, just for dramatic effect.  Oh, it is quite dramatic indeed.



As you enter the church, you see the apostles at all sides.  On the far left, while facing the altar, you see St. Peter with the keys to the church.


The below is the official seat of the pope.  This church is the Basilica of Rome, of which the Pope is the Bishop.  Yes, Papa Francesco is not only THE Pope, but also the Bishop of Rome.  The guy is busy.  Not easy maintaining all these souls and being infallible, but someone has to do it.


When you rush all the way to the back, you can come in to see what I went to see.  Where the pope gets, um “poped”.  Now, I really don’t know the word for this, what phrase can you use?  People have said, “Uh, um, knighted pope, sworn in, crowned, papafied?”  You can pick your favorite, but this location is where the holy happens.


I found this main altar to be interesting and it dates back to 1369.  Above it in the “cage” contains the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul.  I thought St. Peter was buried at St. Peter’s.  What I read is these were moved for protection during the French occupation in the 1800s and there is a possibility these are not their heads.


The above is the altar of the Blessed Sacrament and is said to house the table used at the Last Supper.  The marble and bronze columns incorporated in the altar are said to have been taken from the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol. The bronze columns in that temple had been recast from the bronze prows of Cleopatra’s ships, taken in battle by Emperor Augustus.  When you stand back, those details together are pretty interesting.

I love the Torlonia family’s altar below and is one of the last chapels built for a noble family in Rome.  This relief of the “Deposition” was completed by Pietro Tenerani in 1844.


I love some of the intricate details I see in the flooring of the churches in Rome.  I hear stories on how these smaller tiles are created and I am not sure what to believe.  Was this tiles slices from large longer pieces to make this smaller tiles?  Some of these churches were built centuries ago.  How did they do this?


So much more to see and learn in there and many good guides out there to do it justice!


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