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Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano

Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Guided Roman Catacombs Tour with Transfers

1. Rome: Guided Roman Catacombs Tour with Transfers

Uncover the secrets hidden the dark depths of the the Domitilla catacombs on this guided tour in Rome. Enjoy the convenience of a transfer from a centrally-located meeting point in the city. Learn about early Christian history and see the underground Basilica of Nereus. Meet your guide in the city center and head towards the Appian Way in a comfortable minivan. Reach one of the largest and oldest catacombs of Rome and venture 52 feet (16 meters) below the surface into the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Explore its endless maze of underground burial chambers, spread across 4 levels. Be captivated by ancient wall paintings of mythological and biblical figures and discover the religious symbolism of the frescoes. Learn about the shift from paganism to Christianity and hear about early martyrs and persecutions. Live the excitement of gradually exploring different layers of history. Complete your underworld experience in the 4th-century subterranean Basilica of Nereus and Achilleus. Then jump back in the minivan return to the city center.

Rome: Underground Temples of St. Clement's Basilica Tour

2. Rome: Underground Temples of St. Clement's Basilica Tour

Cross three layers of history and earth as you venture 14 meters below St Clement's Basilica. Discover the best-preserved Mithraic temple of the City 14 meters underground. Find out about the pagan cult of Ancient Romans before Christianity and be intrigued by its sectarian and esoteric side. Meet your guide after checking in at the meeting point and head towards Rome's best-kept secret. Learn about the early-Christian persecutions, martyrs and hear the legend of St. Clement, while standing in the 1st Century structure that was once his home. Feel the eerie atmosphere and touch the waters of an underground river. Journey higher into the remains of the 4th Century Underground Basilica, built on top of the martyr’s house and below the actual one. Walk along its imposing walls and be fascinated by the ancient frescoes while learning about the scenes and the lives of the martyrs they portray. End your tour in the beautiful 12th-century Basilica at ground level. Marvel at the stunning golden mosaic in the apse, and learn about the hidden symbolism in it.

Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

3. Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

Explore 2 contrasting underground sights with an expert guide. Discover a hidden gem 14m below St. Clement’s Basilica and descend into the twisty tunnels of the Roman Catacombs. Meet your guide in front of St. Clement's Basilica and venture deep underground below its foundations into a mystical world of ancient cults and legends. Journey through several layers of history and earth, down to 14 meters below ground. Live the excitement of gradually exploring the later structures built on top of it on your way up to the surface. Go back in time down to the deepest point and discover the best-preserved Mithraic temple of the city. Touch the waters of an underground stream before going higher into the remains of the 4th Century Basilica, built on top of the martyr’s house and below the actual one. Walking along its imposing walls, you will be fascinated by the ancient frescoes while learning about the scenes and lives of the martyrs they portray. Then you will journey outside the city walls to one of the largest and most ancient catacombs, the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Descend 16 meters below the surface and explore the accessible part of its vast labyrinth of underground burial chambers and galleries revealing the shift of faith from paganism to Christianity.

Rome: San Clemente Underground & St. Peter in Chains Church

4. Rome: San Clemente Underground & St. Peter in Chains Church

Just a stone's throw from the Colosseum, you will find one of Rome's hidden gems, the 12th-century Basilica and the archeological site of San Clemente. Visit this incredible place and navigate three underground levels which uncover over 2,000 years of history. The Basilica reveals a sparkling gold mosaic in the central nave. What lies beneath the Basilica remained a secret until 1860 when a flood led an Irish Dominican Roman Catholic priest and archaeologist to discover the levels beneath.  Today, the excavations are still not complete but you can descend 100 feet underground. At the first level is a 4th-century Basilica, which was long forgotten after the construction of the 12th-century Basilica above. Further down are the remains of an ancient pagan Mithraic temple, complete with an altar. Past the temple are the ruins of ancient Roman homes. All of this is incredibly preserved and was painstakingly excavated. At the lowest level, discover the underground spring which caused the chaos that led to the underground discovery.  Visit the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli, the Church of St. Peter in Chains. Here, you will find one of the most prized relics of the Catholic church, what are said to be the chains that bound St. Peter while he was a prisoner in Jerusalem. The chains are visible and located under the main altar of the church. Here, you will also see one of Michelangelo's most important sculptures, which was carved specifically for this space. A close look at this magnificent sculpture of Moses reveals two horns on his head. Your guide will reveal why. 

Christian Rome and Underground Basilicas 3-Hour Tour

5. Christian Rome and Underground Basilicas 3-Hour Tour

Enjoy a half-day walking tour of Christian Rome and discover underground treasures in some of the most sensational churches. Your guide will tell you fascinating facts along the way, leading you to the ancient Basilica of San Clemente, and the Cathedral of St. John in the Lateran Palace. Start at the Basilica of San Clemente, the only church in Rome to be built on 3 different levels. Constructed from the 1st to the 12th centuries, 2 underground floors can now be explored, including the Altar of Mithras from the 1st century. Continue to the church of the Santi Quattro Coronati, devoted to 4 anonymous saints and martyrs. In 2002, an extraordinary series of frescoes was uncovered depicting scenes from the Zodiac, Four Seasons, Liberal Arts, and King Solomon. Follow the story of the Emperor Constantine and Pope Sylvester in the Chapel of St. Sylvester, where it is said the famous Constitutum Constantini (Donation of Constantine) took place. End your tour at the Cathedral of Rome, also known as the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. The oldest of the 4 Papal Basilicas, St. John Lateran boasts a splendid façade, but it’s the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) that will catch your eye.

Rome: 2.5-Hour San Clemente & Underground Private Tour

6. Rome: 2.5-Hour San Clemente & Underground Private Tour

Begin your journey near the Colosseum and take a pleasant walk through the surrounding neighborhood. In a delightful little piazza off Via Cavour, you will find the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains). The church houses an important relic, the two sets of chains that bound St. Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem and Rome. The highlight of this church is undoubtedly Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, an unfinished masterpiece by the Renaissance genius that was originally intended to be part of the tomb of Pope Julius II. The original plans included an enormous funeral monument with 47 statues, but it was never completed due to Michelangelo's other commissions. Leaving San Pietro in Vincoli, continue to see the ruins of the Ludus Magnus, an ancient gladiator training school located on the northeast side of the Colosseum. The arena was connected with the school by underground tunnels. Your last stop will be the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano along Via San Giovanni. This 12th century basilica is a great example of architectural chronology: the structure is a three-level building complex with each level corresponding to a major era of Roman history. Remains under the present basilica suggest that the foundation was part of a Republican era villa. In the 4th century, this was converted into a Christian church dedicated to Pope St. Clement, the third pope after St. Peter. The present medieval basilica was built in 1100.

Rome: Private Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour

7. Rome: Private Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour

Discover what lies beneath the streets of Italy's capital city on this private tour. In the company of an expert guide, unearth the mysteries of Rome's subterranean spaces, from labyrinthine catacombs to hidden churches. You'll also have a private car and driver at your disposal so you can move between the sites in comfort. First, visit the spooky Catacombs of Santa Domitilla, one of the largest and oldest underground Christian cemeteries in the world. Walk through the twisting tunnels to discover hundreds of thousands of graves, as well as some of the world’s oldest Christian images and the haunting underground church of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. In the basilica of San Clemente meanwhile, admire astonishing medieval mosaics and some of the most important paintings from the Early Renaissance.  Next, visit the Roman Houses of Saint John and Paul, which are located beneath a Christian church. Here, enjoy an incredible window into daily life in the ancient city. Discover marvelous decorations where pagan imagery and Christian frescoes coexist in harmony in this fascinating villa complex. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, instead of the Roman Houses, visit the beautiful basilica of Santi Cosma and Damiano, built right into the Temple of Romulus in the ancient Roman.

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What people are saying about Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,816 reviews

This was a last minute addition for me and I am so glad that I did that. The transfer to the catacombs was convenient and the tour was excellent. Our guide was so knowledgeable and considerate of all the members in our group. Seeing the frescos that have been under ground for so many years was a very special event. My only wish was that it was a little longer than the one hour and that there was a few minutes built in for time in the shop, especially as no pictures were allowed I would have like to see if there were opportunities to purchase some of their pictures of this incredible site.

A real insider tip. If you want to know how Rome was built, you have to book this tour. Tanja was very competent and explained everything easily and understandably. If you want to see more of Rome and want to understand Rome, you should not (only) limit yourself to the main attractions but book this tour! Really great!

Our guide was an archaeologist, which made the tour multidimensional. She was an enthusiastic storyteller with a deep knowledge of history and Christianity. San Clemente was extraordinary — a must see that many miss!

The church is very interesting. It is fascinating to go down to the lower levels.

It was a very interesting tour exploring early Christianity in Rome