Rome and Church are two words that are closely associated to each other. Rome is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, with it's leader the Pope residing here at the Vatican. Most tourists to Rome expect to spend a lot of time visiting some of these sacred houses, with St Peter's usually on the top of their list.
Like most of Italy, churches are impressive landmarks in the towns and cities and Rome has many more than any other centre. Not only are they places of worship but they have become impressive art galleries and museums due to the the high quality art and decorations of their interiors and exteriors. Rome's churches are especially impressive as often the art work has been done by world famous artists.
Most churches are open for display but they stick to strict opening hours and are not open for touring when a service is on. Some churches charge a fee to enter and others are free to wander around, there is usually notification of entry costs at the front door.
A lot of churches in Rome have a dress code and it is enforced, especially if there is a sign out the front stipulating the correct attire for entry. Anyone wearing shorts, short skirts, singlet tops where shoulders are shown, or the midriff showing will not be allowed entry
It has been known for people to wait in a long line at St Peter's only to be refused entry when they get to the front of the queue because their clothing isn't deemed suitable to enter. If you are out sightseeing for the day in Rome there is strong possibility that you will see a church that you would like to enter, so make sure you have dressed according to the dress code. For females it is a good tip to have a light cardigan in your bag to cover up just in case you see a church you would like to enter.
At Eguide we try and be fully comprehensive but the number of churches in Rome defeats us and so we only list some. There are many more!
Opened in 1584 is the church of the Jesuits with the baroque Triumph in the name of Jesus on the ceiling. Piazza del Gesu (06 697001).
San Carlo alla Quattro Fontane
A small church designed by Francesco Borromini with an oval interior covered by an elliptical cupola. Via del Quirinale, 23 (064883261).
A small cathedral where you can hear the underground river that flows beneath the city. Via San Giovanni in Laterana
San Giovanni in Laterano
The cathedral church of Rome and first of the major basilicas. Piazza san Giovanni in Laterano, 4 (06 69886433)
A good example of Baroque art.
Sant' Ivo della Sapienza
Located near Piazza Navona a small church shaped like the Star of David, with an interesting steeple.
San Luigi dei Francesci
Well known for the side chapel which contains three Caravaggio paintings, including "The Calling of St. Matthew."
Founded in AD336 on the site of the house where St Mark the evangelist stayed. Piazza San Marco (06 6795205)
Sant'Andrea della Valle
Built in 1624 by Giacomo della Porta with the second highest dome in Rome. Coros Vittorio, 6 (06 686 1339)
Santa Maria in Aracoeli
The romanesque Aracoeli is on the site of an ancient temple to Juno Moneta. Piazza del Campidoglio, 4 (06 679 8155).
Santa Maria Maggiore
On top of the Esquiline Hill with gold decorations inside. Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore (06 483195)
Santa Maria in Trastevere
The nave is lined with columns from ancient Roman buildings and the apse covered in gold mosaics. Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere (06 5897332)
Santa Maria alla Minerva
Rome's gothic church behind the pantheon.
San Nicola in Carcere
A 12th Century church built over three temples. Via del Teatro di Marcello (06 6830 7198)
St Peter's is one of the world great Christian symbols. Built over Saint Peter's tomb in the 4th Century. Over the years it has been added and included help from Michelangelo's and inside you will find his Pieta. He built the massive dome. Bernini was responsible for the piazza and baldacchino. Good views from the cupola. Piazza San Pietro. Use metro Ottaviano - San Pietro.
A 7th Century church originally run by Greek monks. Via San Saba.