Following in the Footsteps of St Paul
Mamertine Prison; Church of San Paolo alla Regola; Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wall; Abbey of Tre Fontane
Duration: 3 hours
Meeting point: Italywithus Welcome Centre - see map here.
Starting time: 9am and 3pm
Tour (transport included)
Time: 3 hours
If you have special requirements, please contact us as early as possible to see if we can accommodate your needs. Email us or call +39 06 3972 3051
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A three hour pilgrims excursion to the most historic shrines that honor the Apostle Saint Paul, and an in-depth look at his life and death in the capital of the Roman Empire.
Pope Benedict XVI declared 2008 the "Year of Saint Paul". In memory of that occasion Italywithus offers an epic pilgrimage to four of the most significant shrines that honor the Apostle: the Mamertine Prison; the Church of San Paolo alla Regola; the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls; and the Abbey of Tre Fontane.
Paul is easily recognized as one of the most prominent and significant of all the apostles and Rome, the city of his apostolic destiny, trial and martyrdom, celebrated his legacy with an extraordinary Jubilee Year.
Firstly, we begin our journey by visiting the place of Saint Paul’s imprisonment at the famous Mamertine prison, near the Roman Forum, where ancient tradition maintains that both “Princes of the Apostles”, Peter and Paul, were captive.
Our next stop will be a more obscure location in the Jewish Quarter, the place where Paul lived and taught during his Roman period -- the Church of San Paolo alla Regola. With good timing and a little bit of luck we may even have the opportunity to visit the room where he wrote three Books of the Bible. Usually this site is not open to the public.
We will then proceed to the splendid Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. This is the traditional burial place of Saint Paul where we will visit his tomb. Tradition maintains that Paul’s followers erected a memorial over his grave which was expanded in the 4th century to become what is now this grandiose shrine.
While at the basilica we will see a fascinating array of historical and religious artifacts including:
- the tabernacle of the confession by Arnolfo di Cambio
- an exquisite 12th-century candelabra by Vassalletto
- a 13th century Byzantine style apse mosaic of Christos Pantokrator, and
- an attractive 19th century series of papal portraits in a frieze extending around the nave.
We will also visit a chapel containing relics and numerous treasures and vestiges of Pauline devotion, the most notable being a set of chains said to be the prison chains of Saint Paul used in the last days before his execution. Another feature that we will visit is the Benedictine cloister with its cosmatesque decoration. Many other superb works of art such as the Bronze Doors with silver inlay and the Altar of Saint Paul’s Conversion, with exquisite malachite and lapis lazuli marbles, with make for a most enjoyable and invigorating break in our journey.
Our final stop will be at the nearby Abbey of Tre Fontane, formerly known as Aquae Salviae, the place where Saint Paul was martyred. This extraordinary location, too often overlooked by visitors to Rome, includes a visit to three shrines that honor the Apostle: firstly, the holy place where Saint Paul was beheaded, a site marked by three fountains that, according to tradition, sprung up at the moment of his martyrdom. These fountains still flow today. The other two places comprise the Altar of Scala Coeli where Saint Zeno and his legionaries were martyred, and the revered monastic church of the Trappist monks who govern the Abbey.
Each stop on this extraordinary pilgrimage will allow us to figuratively revisit the events that revolve around Saint Paul’s apostolic profession, and learn of the struggles he had with the Roman law and his relationships with the Roman people.