Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo

Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo, Rome

Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo

Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo
4.5
Historic Sites • Religious Sites • Churches & Cathedrals
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Monday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Tuesday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Wednesday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Thursday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Friday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Saturday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Sunday
7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
About
For centuries, the Scala Santa has attracted Christian pilgrims and visitors who wished to honor the Passion of Christ. Tradition says that originally the Holy Stairs led to the praetorium, or judgment hall, of Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem. Today, those same 28 white marble steps lead to the Sancta Sanctorum, or “Holiest of Holy Places”, the first private chapel of the Popes. Many have undergone the spiritual ritual of ascending the stairs on their knees.The Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs, one of the major projects by Pope Sixtus V, encompasses 1700 m of frescoes completed in 1590. These images tell the story of both the old and new testaments while including depictions of various saints, doctors of the church and the superb landscapes by Flemish master Paul Bril.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Monti
Monti is Rome’s rebel yell. This neighborhood just west of Termini train station mixes grit with fun as it continues to fight for its reputation as a magnet for the artsy, alternative, and hipster. Every season, quirky boutiques and food spots sprout up on its cobblestone streets. The neighborhood supports unique and homegrown businesses that cater to its longtime residents as well as hipsters on the hunt. Hang out at Piazza della Madonna dei Monti anytime after lunch and you'll always find something going on.
How to get there
  • San Giovanni • 5 min walk
  • San Giovanni • 5 min walk
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dapper777
Monaco32,019 contributions
One of the most important sacred places ever for Christian devotion.
Feb 2021 • Friends
The Scala Santa, one of the most important sacred places ever for Christian devotion, is located a few steps from St. John Lateran's Basilica.
After the long restoration works started and carried out by the Vatican Museums, the steps of the Holy Stairs have been freed from dirt, corrosion and encrustations.
They are twenty-eight and are made of Tyrian gray-veined white marbles, consumed little by little by the faithful who for centuries have climbed them on their knees.
It is called "Santa" because according to tradition Jesus Christ went up there to reach Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem on Good Friday before the crucifixion.
Brought to Rome by empress St. Helen in the 4th century, they are considered so sacred that the faithful climb them on their knees in prayer. Pilgrims walk through it praying on their knees as this place speaks to us of the Passion of Our Lord.
On the Fridays of Lent this act of devotion ensures the indulgence of sins.
On the sides of the base of the Holy Stairs there are two imposing statues linked to the Passion: that one of Jesus with Pontius Pilate and another one depicting the kiss of Judas. Through the glass covers you can still see some stains of blood left by Jesus on this staircase, as tradition says.
In the Middle Ages the Scala Sancta was part of the Lateran Palace, near the Chapel of St. Sylvester. When in the year 1589 pope Sixtus V destroyed the old papal palace to build a new one, he ordered that the Scala Santa be moved to the place where it is today, in front of the entrance to a chapel known as Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies).
The latter is an ancient papal chapel, dedicated to St. Lawrence, and is the only remaining part of the old Lateran Palace.
The name is due to the many and precious relics that are preserved there.
The Sancta Sanctorum contains the image of Christ "akeropita", which means "not painted by human hand", which is sometimes carried in procession.
Currently the Scala Santa is surrounded by four staircases, two on each side for common use, since the marble steps can only be climbed on the knees.
It is a very popular practice among faithful Romans and pilgrims, especially on Fridays and during Lent.
In 1723 Pope Innocent XIII decided to protect those steps with a wooden roof and for three hundred years they remained hidden. In addition to the Scala Santa, the sixteenth-century frescoes commissioned by Sixtus V have regained their light, covering 2500 square meters and adorning this very particular Sanctuary.
Round the right hand corner of the façade of the Holy Staircases is what appears to be the apse mosaic of a 9th century papal dining hall, Triclinium Leoninum, now displayed in an 18th century brick aedicule.
It depicts Christ with the Apostles in the centre, Christ with Constantine and Pope Sylvester on the left, and St Peter, Pope Leo III and Charles the Great (Charlemagne) on the right. Pope Leo III has a square nimbus, showing that he was still alive when it was made.
The original mosaic has been dated to just before year 800, when Charlemagne was crowned as emperor in Rome, but the present work is an 18th century copy.
If you are in the area, and you have already visited the Lateran Basilica, the Scala Santa is the ideal complement to the spectacular Lateran complex of the Catholic religion in Rome.
Written 8 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Malgorzata
10,460 contributions
An important place for Christians
May 2019
Holy Stairs are located in a small church next to the Basilica of St. John Lateran. According to tradition, these are the stairs that Jesus Christ climbed to meet Pontius Pilate before his passion. These stairs were brought from Jerusalem to Rome in 326 by Saint. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I. It was at the top of these stairs, in the seat of Pontius Pilate, that Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Written 22 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

guice g
22 contributions
On your knees
Feb 2020
This a must for all who belive. The steps can only be climbed on your knees. there are side steps for those who can not climb on there knees.
Written 3 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Katarzyna43
Cork, Ireland411 contributions
Personal experience to me as being catholic,
It’s up to you if you want to climb Holy Stairs.
Jan 2020 • Family
Due to different religious views that we all have it is up to you to go and climb the stairs which Jesus had to climb to see Pontius Pilate. The golden points are covered with glass because it contains Jesus’s blood.
Very personal experience.
Written 31 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Richard
Llandybie, UK386 contributions
Holy Place
Oct 2019 • Couples
Visited here being close to the Cathedral of Rome. Very moving, humble and quiet experience. Visited the little chapels around and above the holy steps, but did not climb the actual steps themselves.
Written 23 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

blairkk25
New Jersey2,469 contributions
Very moving to look at
Sep 2019
I visited the Scala Santa in September 2019. I walked from Piazza di Spagna to San Giovanni in Laterano which took me about 45 minutes. It was a very hot and humid day. Scala Santa is located across the street from San Giovanni in Laterano. As I entered, I asked the security guard and a priest if I could take a photo. And they allowed me to take a quick photo. I did not have the time to climb up the steps on my knees but my wife had done it many years ago. I hope to do that during my next visit to Rome.
Written 15 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

421Chris
Canterbury, United Kingdom14 contributions
Amazing experience
Oct 2019 • Couples
Just amazing being on the very steps that Jesus Christ walked on... Cannot find the words to describe how I felt!
Written 31 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mabel T
4 contributions
My thanksgiving sacrifice
Oct 2019 • Solo
It was a good experience climbing up the stairs as a sign of gratitude and my share of small sacrifice for your faithful love.
Written 23 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Carol Lobo
Mumbai, India82 contributions
Deeply Moving
Oct 2019 • Friends
When we decided to visit the Sancta Scala, I went as a tourist but left moved to tears. I decided, on the spur of the moment, to climb the stairs that Jesus had once ascended, on my knees. If Jesus had suffered so much pain in his life and was then crucified, why couldn't I endure an iota of discomfort in His name? Also, being one among a group of people, all of us climbing with the same faith, made for a powerful experience... Sometimes, you are sent a test of faith when you least expect it. A must-do for believers.
Written 6 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Opa
Budapest, Hungary171 contributions
Sacral place
Aug 2019
It is a nice church, next to the San Giovanni in Laterano. There is a " Scala Sancta". It is an emotional place.
Written 5 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo

Scala Santa and Chapel of San Lorenzo is open:
  • Sun - Sun 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Sun - Sat 3:00 PM - 6:30 PM
  • Mon - Sat 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
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