Lateran Palace

Rome, Italy

The Lateran Palace is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome. Located on St. John's Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill, the edifice is adjacent to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of Rome.

From the fourth century, the palace was the principal residence of the popes, and continued so for about a thousand years until the seat ultimately moved to the Vatican. The original palace was destroyed by fires in 1307 and 1361. Due to the damage the ancient building of the Lateran Palace was replaced with the same structure, which is the current Lateran Palace, during the papacy of Pope Sixtus V.

The Sancta Sanctorum chapelĀ is the only building from the old Lateran palace that was not destroyed during its reconstruction. It was the original private chapel of the papacy before it moved to Avignon, and later to the Vatican palace. The chapel contains a wooden reliquary box, which supposedly houses the bones of at least 13 saints.

The palace is now used by the Vatican Historical Museum, which illustrates the history of the Papal States. The palace also houses the offices of the Vicariate of Rome, as well as the residential apartments of the Cardinal vicar, the pope's delegate for the daily administration of the diocese.

Until 1970, the palace was also home to the important collections of the Lateran Museum, now dispersed among other parts of the Vatican Museums.

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Details

Founded: 1586
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org
vatican.com

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Peter Szofka (3 months ago)
Impressive! Monumental!
Mareena Mathilakathu (4 months ago)
Great to visit. Ancient monuments
R R (13 months ago)
Very beautiful on the inside but not open to all
Linda Roe (2 years ago)
Beautiful building. Delightful to walk thru this wonderful area.
Joseph A. de Leon (2 years ago)
Today is the feast day of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, mother of all the churches in the City and in the world. The Lateran Palace is part of the whole complex and today is the Curia of the Diocese of Rome. In a certain sense it is my "home" since I belong to the roman clergy. Welcome! (Since the structure is practically made up of diocesan offices it is not normally open for tourists and visitors.)
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In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.

The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.

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The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).

Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.

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