Scala Sancta

Scala Sancta: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: City Highlights, Vatican Pass and Free Transport

1. Rome: City Highlights, Vatican Pass and Free Transport

Make your stay in Rome an unforgettable and unique experience with the 3-day OMNIA Vatican Card and Roma Pass. It’s actually 2 passes rolled into one. Roma Pass grants you free entry to 2 out of 5 top attractions plus discounts at a further 30 top sights and a travel card. The OMNIA Vatican Card allows entry to all top sights in Vatican City plus a 3-day hop-on hop-off bus tour. You will also receive a free guidebook and map to help you plan your itinerary as well as dedicated itineraries that allow you to explore the city at your own pace. The OMNIA Card includes: • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Entrance to the Basilica of St. John in the Lateran and cloister with multimedia audio-guide • Entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica including multilingual audio-guide app - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Carcer Tullianum / Mamertine Prison (St Peter's Prison) - advanced reservations required (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Vox City Guide app • Open Bus Vatican and Rome The Roma Pass includes free admission to 2 of the following attractions (adult tickets only): • Capitoline Museums • Castel Sant'Angelo • The Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Borghese Gallery - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) It also includes price reductions to many museums and attractions, including the following: Museums: • Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum • National Roman Museum – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme • National Roman Museum – Palazzo Altemps • National Roman Museum – Crypta Balbi • National Roman Museum – Baths of Diocletian • National Gallery in Palazzo Barberini • Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia • Musei Capitolini • Centrale Montemartini • National Museum of Oriental Art • MACRO - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma • MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts • Planetarium and astronomical museum Attractions: • Trajan's Market • Palazzo Valentini – Archaeological Area of the Domus Romane • Ara Pacis Roma Cristiana Open Bus Tour. This panoramic hop-on hop-off bus tour stops at: 1. Saint Peter's Basilica 2. Piazza Navona 3. Santa Maria ad Martyres Pantheon 4. Santa Maria in Aracoeli 5. Termini Central Station 6. Santa Maria Maggiore 7. San Giovanni - Holy Stairs 8. Colosseum - Roman Forum 9. Circus Maximus 10. Tiber Island 11. Palazzo Farnese

Rome: The Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran Entry Ticket

2. Rome: The Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran Entry Ticket

The Lateran complex consists of several high interest sites: the Basilica, the Cloister and the Treasure Museum, the Baptistery and the Holy Stairs, which contain the casket of the Chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum. This special ticket allows you to easily access the complex and visit all the points of interest in around 2 hours with a multilingual audio-guide system. You will begin your visit by visiting the basilica with the cloister and the Treasure Museum, before then proceeding outside the church to the baptistery which is located in the square behind. During the second half of your tour, you will visit the building of the Holy Stairs, which is located on the right of the basilica, and admire the Chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum. If you only have one hour, you can visit the basilica and its cloister first, followed by the Holy Stairs and Sancta Sanctorum.

Christian Rome and Underground Basilicas 3-Hour Tour

3. 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: The Passion of Jesus Private Guided Tour

4. Rome: The Passion of Jesus Private Guided Tour

Embark on a 3.5-hour private guided tour with a focus on the spirituality of Rome and some of the churches linked to the Passion of Jesus. Start out at the Basilica of Santa Prassede, where you’ll see a relic of the pillar of the flogging, a segment of the column upon which Jesus was flogged before his crucifixion. Mentioned in 3 of the canonical gospels, this relic was brought to Rome during the Middle Ages. Next is a visit to the amazing Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This is the largest Marian Church in Rome and is home to a piece of wood said to come from the crib of Jesus. Move on to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the first of the 4 papal basilicas to be built, and the Cathedral of Rome. See the Scala Sancta, or Holy Stairs. These are the steps leading up to Pilate's headquarter in Jerusalem, on which Jesus stepped before he was sentenced to death. To gain the plenary Indulgence, believers climb the steps on their knees. Nearby is the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. It was built in the 4th century A.D. to preserve the relics brought to Rome by St. Helen, the mother of Constantine. Several relics are preserved in the Cappella delle Reliquie. See the panel that hung on Christ's cross, 2 thorns from his crown, and 3 pieces of his cross.

Rome: Christian Basilicas & Secret Catacombs

5. Rome: Christian Basilicas & Secret Catacombs

The tour will start with a visit to the splendid Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the four papal basilicas of Rome and the most important church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Continuing through the Via Appia Antica up to the Catacombs of San Callixto or Santa Domitilla, you will go down for a visit of about 30 minutes to learn about early Christian cemeteries and shelters. Returning downtown to the city, admire the beautiful Basilica of St. John Lateran, the "Mater et Kaput" of all the churches of Rome and the world, surrounded by a complex including the Pontifical Lateran Palace, the Palace of the Canons, the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary and the Pontifical Lateran University. Both territories are on the Italian land. Where the basilicas arise, enjoy the privileges of extraterritoriality recognized by the Holy See that holds the full and exclusive jurisdiction. Your last stop will be at the Holy Stairs. According to tradition, the 28 steps of the stairs are exactly the same ones that Jesus went up in Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem. Brought to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th-century, they are considered so sacred that the faithfuls climb them on their knees praying. The tour will finish near the Termini area or Piazza Barberini.

From Rome: Full-Day Best of Christian Rome Tour with Lunch

6. From Rome: Full-Day Best of Christian Rome Tour with Lunch

This tour will start with a pick-up from your accommodation in Rome. A professional English-speaking driver with a private minivan will be with you for the entire day. It isn’t impossible to concentrate 17 centuries of history in one tour. Be guided to visit the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome. Official licensed guides, if booked, will be selected by the local tour operator. Feast on a lunch in a typical Roman restaurant. Consider that in high season from April to October, you must book the tour option with guide included a minimum of 30 days in advance. During your private tour, you will enjoy landmarks such as Saint John Lateran, the Holy Stairs, Saint Mary Major, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Christian Catacombs on the Ancient Appian Way and St. Peter’s Basilica (if and when open). Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the first among the four major basilicas of Rome. It is also the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, the pope, and is thus known as Omnium urbis et orbis Ecclesiarum Mater et Caput: "Cathedral of Rome and of the World." The sanctuary gets its name from the 28 marble steps of the Holy Stairs. According to an ancient Christian tradition, Saint Helena (†335), the mother of Constantine, had the stairs transported from Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem to Rome. It is believed that Jesus climbed these stairs several times the day he was sentenced to death, thus, they are known as the “Scala Pilati” or “Scala Sancta” (the Holy Stairs or Pilate’s Stairs). The Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches. Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the church's role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome. Saint Paul Outside the Walls is where Christians venerated the memory of Saint Paul the Apostle, beheaded under Nero around 65-67 AD. Above his grave, located along the Ostiense Way, Emperor Constantine built a basilica. The Christian catacombs originated in Rome between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd centuries. The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican is the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. You can choose which catacombs you prefer to visit among the following: the Catacombs of St. Domitilla, Catacombs of St. Sebastian or the Catacombs of San Callixtus. The Catacombs of St. Domitilla are the oldest of Rome's underground burial networks, and the only ones to still contain bones. They are also the best preserved and one of the most extensive of all the Catacombs. Included in their passages are a 2nd-century fresco of the Last Supper and other valuable artifacts. There are around 4,000,000 bodies buried in St. Domitilla. They are the only catacombs that have a subterranean basilica. The Catacombs of St. Sebastian, as one of the smallest Christian cemeteries, has always been some of the most accessible catacombs and are thus some of the least preserved (of the four original floors, the first is almost completely gone). On the left end of the right hand wall of the nave of the primitive basilica (rebuilt in 1933 on ancient remains), arches to end the middle of the nave of the actual 13th-century church are visible, along with the outside of the apse of the Chapel of the Relics; whole and fragmentary collected sarcophagi (mostly dating from the 4th-century) were found in excavations. The Catacombs of San Callixtus or the Crypt of the Popes was built after 150 AD. It takes its name from the deacon Saint Callixtus, proposed by Pope Zephyrinus in the administration of the same cemetery - on his accession as pope, he enlarged the complex, and soon it became the official one for the Roman church. The arcades, where more than fifty martyrs and sixteen pontiffs were buried, form part of a complex graveyard that occupies 15 hectares and is around 12 miles (20 kilometers) long. Once you get to the catacombs, your entrance tickets (8 EUR/ person not included) will be purchased on the spot. Your driver will be able to help you complete the task. Then, you'll start your visit inside with a small group tour in your preferred language given by the catacombs staff. At the end of the tour, the driver will take you back to your accommodation in Rome. The tour will be a total of 8-hours from pick-up to drop-off. Suggested pick-up is at 09:00.

Other Sightseeing Options in Scala Sancta

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What people are saying about Scala Sancta

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 2,803 reviews

very good reception by the ORP but no facility to reserve places for the coliseum. 1 special mention for the person who takes care of the OMNIA CARD at St GIOVANI and for TIXIAN who enchanted our journeys from the VATICAN ROME with his beautiful voice. I recommend OMNIA CARD for the beautiful city of ROME

Our guide was so knowledgeable and her obvious love for what she was doing, she and this tour was exceptional! The experience was so informative and such a blessing that I would not hesitate to recommend this tour

With the pass, it is easy to get around by subway and bus to the various attractions. Also convenient to book via the card to avoid queues etc.

Everything was well organized but lacks a bit of explanation. Queue cut queue? not found

I put this pass to use in Rome and had a blast. Totally worth the cost!