The Vatican State is not just where the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica are located, it is also the area around St. John’s Basilica of Lateran or San Giovanni Laterano, the oldest Christian church in Rome and the home church of the Pope on the outer edges of town. The cement pillars in front of the entrance mark the beginning of Vatican control, and there are guards standing nearby as “border control”.

If you are driving to the site, there are also border control booths for cars.

The “Holy Stairs” are located across the street in the plain beige building, where pilgrims climb the 28 marble stairs inside on their knees.

The main entrance to the church is massive

with imposing columns

and intricate sculptures.

Entering on the left side, you see all the booths for confession, some of which had priests

who spoke several languages.

Crossing over to the right into the main part of the church there were huge marble sculptures of all the disciples on both sides.

This is the center section of the church from the front door.

The center is of focus is the “Bishop’s Chair” where the Pope sits to officially become Pope.

The oldest church has the latest technology; on either side of the front door, there are multi language audio guides you can listen to while seated at the screens.