Great entertainment & the Mother of all churches, San Giovanni

Discerning tourists come to leafy San Giovanni, 10 minutes walk from the Colosseum but away from the usual mayhem. It holds the oldest basilica (Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, a palace given to the Church by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century) which is actually mother church and head off ALL catholic churches (that’s right even over St Peter’s). Get off the metro red line at ‘San Giovanni’.  I was harassed by a Roman architecture student for not visiting San Giovanni. The basilica is rich with impressive flourish  and its collection of large ogling baby heads with two sets of wings flanking the arches are a favourite of mine. This clean green middle class suburb sheltered by the ancient walls has good transport and a laid back feel once you wander in towards its pretty, subtly coloured villas and apartments. When I began living there I also discovered some great  finds along with historical importance. It has many attractions such as choice vintage or bargain buy markets, restaurants and a clubbing paradise. You can really get a packed, out of the ordinary day here. While close to the centre, it also has a tram beside the basilica that takes you to the gritty cool San Lorenzo (search keyword tab). For where to go here search the keyword tab for ‘San Giovanni’ or try the other UI pages.

 

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