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Basilica of Saint Paul Outside The Walls

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazzale San Paolo, 1a, 00146 Roma RM, Italy

Opening Hours

7:00 AM - 6:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the cloister at the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura, an often-missed gem with beautiful medieval architecture and an atmosphere of tranquility right in the heart of Rome. As a local tip, attend the Vespers service with the Benedictine monks for an immersive and truly spiritual experience; it's less crowded than other services and you can really soak in the sacred ambiance of the basilica."

What is Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura?

The Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura, or the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, is one of Rome's four ancient, papal-major basilicas. Majestically standing with its imposing façade and beautifully detailed cloisters, it is affectionately known as San Paolo by the locals. This sacred site is located just outside the city walls and is a profound symbol of the Christian faith, as it is built over the burial place of Saint Paul the Apostle.

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Unlike the bustling streets of central Rome, the atmosphere here is serene and invites reflection. Its vast interior resonates with venerable history and the echoes of countless pilgrims who have walked its aisles over the centuries. Stepping inside San Paolo, you aren't merely entering a historical site; you are walking into a living repository of faith and artistry that has withstood the test of time.

History of Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura

The origins of Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura trace back to Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century, who commissioned this grand structure to honor Saint Paul following his martyrdom. Over centuries, the Basilica underwent various phases of embellishment and restoration, reflecting the era's architectural and artistic zeitgeist. A catastrophic fire in 1823 led to a dedicated 19th-century reconstruction, sensitively reflecting the original fourth-century design and preserving its ancient aura and grandeur.

The Basilica has been a significant destination for pilgrims, particularly during the Jubilee years when crossing its holy threshold is believed to grant plenary indulgence. San Paolo's intellectual and spiritual significance is also underscored by the adjacent monastery, which was historically prominent as a center for biblical studies and Christian theology.

Why is Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura Important?

San Paolo's importance is indelibly linked to its foundation over the grave of an apostle, rendering it a beacon for Christian pilgrimage. Known for its vast array of sacred art and relics, including a portrait of every Pope, the basilica provides a visual testimony to the enduring lineage and leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, it represents a triumph of faith, rising, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the 19th-century fire to remain a center of worship and veneration.

It's not just the religious aspect that makes San Paolo significant. Architecturally, it manifests the grandeur of early Christian basilicas and embodies a culmination of centuries of art and Christian iconography. Its cultural richness and the continuity of its religious function throughout history make it an essential cornerstone of the Christian world. The basilica also reminds us of the cultural dialogue between faiths and nations, notably preserved through the interplay of Byzantine mosaics and the reconstructed classical columns.

Things to Do & See at Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura

A visit to the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura should begin with its awe-inspiring nave, adorned with 80 monolithic marble columns. The shimmering 5th-century gold mosaic in the triumphal arch is one of the oldest surviving pieces of its kind and is not to be missed. Moreover, a quiet walk through the cloisters reveals a harmonious blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles—a tranquil oasis amidst the history swirling about you.

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Take a moment to observe the Papal Altar, sheltering the relic of St. Paul's tomb beneath it, a site of profound religious significance. Art lovers would be delighted by the richness and variety of the artistic legacy found in the portraits of the Popes that line the walls. Each face tells a story, a history of the Church encapsulated in art form. And do keep an eye out for the magnificent Easter candle holder, a glorious silver piece that is as functional as it is ornate.

But let's not forget the little details. When you visit, listen for the subtle acoustics diffused by the grandness of the basilica—a reminder that each stone and corner here is suffused with the prayers of the faithful. And we could wander outside to the garden, where the air carries whispers of ancient conversations. Just outside, the statue of St. Paul with a welcoming hand reminds visitors of the hope and welcome that the Basilica has offered through the ages.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura?

The Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura, also known as the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, is one of Rome's four ancient major basilicas. It is located outside the city's walls and is famous for housing the tomb of St. Paul the Apostle.

How can I get to the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura?

You can reach the Basilica by taking the metro line B and getting off at the Basilica San Paolo station, or by various bus lines that stop near the Basilica.

What are the opening hours of the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura?

The Basilica typically opens daily to the public. However, the opening hours might vary, so it is recommended to check the official website or contact the Basilica directly for the most up-to-date information.

Is there an entrance fee to visit the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura?

There is no fee to enter the Basilica itself; however, there may be a charge for guided tours or to access certain parts of the complex, such as the cloister or archaeological site.

What are some of the significant features of the Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura?

Significant features include the elaborate mosaics, the Papal Altar, the Quadriporticus, the Cloister, and the tomb of St. Paul. The Basilica also boasts a large collection of Christian art and historical artifacts.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazzale San Paolo, 1a, 00146 Roma RM, Italy

Opening Hours

7:00 AM - 6:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps