A Guide For The Pilgrim in Rome
The Pantheon has existed for over 2000 years. Despite its great age its dome remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the entire world. The building itself was originally designed as a temple to honor all of the ancient Roman gods. However, after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire it was consecrated as a Christian place of worship in 609 AD. Pilgrims can still to this day attend Mass here on weekends and holy days.
Begin this walking tour at the Pantheon. From here head south to visit Santa Maria sopra Minerva. One can typically leave Santa Maria sopra Minerva through a door located to the left of the main sanctuary in the front of the church. This will exit upon Via di Sant’Ignazio. Head left on this street to visit the church of Sant’Ignazio. From here continue west along Via in Aquiro to visit La Maddalena. Finally, proceed north along Via di Campo Marzio to reach San Lorenzo in Lucina.
The following churches are listed according to the order of the suggested route. The total distance is about 1 mile. To walk will probably take about 2.5 hours when one stops at each of the churches. The churches are generally open from 7AM-1PM and from 4PM-7PM. The Pantheon, however, will remain open during the pranzo hour.
Pantheon / Santa Maria dei Martiri
(Our Lady of the Martyrs)
Piazza della Rotonda
*This ancient temple was converted into a Christian church in the year 609. It now honors the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christian martyrs.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva
(Our Lady Above Minerva)
Via del Beato Angelico 35
*This church is near the Pantheon.
*The body of St Catherine of Siena rests under the main altar. She spent the last two years of her life in Rome before her passing in 1380. A devotional chapel made out of the room where she died can be visited by entering the sacristy. Originally this room was located a few blocks away at Via Santa Chiara, 14. However, in the 1630s it was reconstructed and brought here.
*To the left of the main altar is Michelangelo’s famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. A bit further left near the Frangipane Chapel is the tomb of Fra Angelico (d. 1455).
Via del Caravita 8/a
*This church is east of the Pantheon.
*The remains of St Aloysius Gonzaga (d. 1591) rest under the altar in the right transept. His rooms are next to the church and can be visited by appointment.
*The body of St Robert Bellarmine (d. 1621), a prominent cardinal and theologian of the Counter-Reformation, rests under the altar in the third chapel on the right side of the nave.
*The remains of St John Berchmans (d. 1621), the patron saint of altar servers, rest under the altar in the left transept.
Piazza della Maddalena 53
*This church is just north of the Pantheon.
*In the chapel in the right transept is a miraculous crucifix that is said to have spoken to St Camillus de Lellis.
*In the third chapel on the right side of the nave are the remains of St Camillus de Lellis. He lived in the adjacent monastery and died here in 1614. His rooms can be visited by asking the sacristan. One of these rooms has been transformed into a chapel and contains the relic of his heart.
San Lorenzo in Lucina
(Saint Lawrence in Lucina)
Via in Lucina 16/a
*This church is north of the Pantheon.
*The grill used to burn St Lawrence (d. 258) is preserved under the altar in the first chapel on the right side of the nave.