Basilicas of Rome Private Driving Tour
Visit Rome's Incredible Basilicas
Join us on a private driving tour of Roman basilicas including the Holy Staircase, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Peter in Chains. Visit three out of four the Major Basilicas in Rome with a private English-speaking guide.
What you get with this tour
What you will see on this tour
- Hotel Pick Up
- St. Paul Outside the Wall
- Holy Door
- Altar Mosaic
- Baths of Caracalla
- Lateran Obelisk
- Cathedral of San Giovanni
- Holy Staircase
- Holy Door
- Basilica of Saint Mary Major
- Holy Door
- Reliquiary of the Holy Crib
- Oldest image of Virgin Mary
- Tomb of Bernini
- Saint Peter in Chains
- The Chains of Peter
- Michelangelo's Moses
Rome is the world center of Catholicism, and some of the most precious religious sites in the world are located here. Regardless of your own religious beliefs, our private Basilicas of Rome driving tour is your chance see all of the most important churches in Rome, and the important art and relics they house. Visit three out of the four Major Basilicas in Rome.The fourth Major Basilica is St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, which we visit on numerous private and small group Vatican tours. This 3-hour private tour includes:
- - Your own personal English-speaking guide
- - Visits to St. Paul Outside the Walls, Arch-Basilica of St. John in Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Peter in Chains
- - Comfortable, air-conditioned luxury transportation
- - Door-to-door pick up and drop off
Important! Since the basilicas on this tour are sacred places, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry. We understand that summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.
To make this private tour in Rome even better, we pick you up and drop you off! Using a luxury climate-controlled vehicle, these private transfer services are included for accommodations located in Rome’s city center. Not sure if you're staying central? No worries, just contact our Travel Experts by email or online chat to be sure. For pick-up or drop-off at accommodations located outside the city center, an extra fee will apply.
St. Paul Outside the Walls
The first stop on this private driving tour is the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (San Paolo Fuori le Mura), where the remains of the Apostle St. Paul are buried. Built during the fourth century A.D., the basilica is the second largest in Rome after St. Peter's Basilica. The church features incredible marble columns and houses stunning mosaics from the thirteenth century.
Arch-Basilica of St. John in Lateran
Founded during the fourth century in honor of St. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is also known as the Cathedral of Rome. This church is very important as it holds the official seat of the pope. Named an Archbasilica, this is the highest ranked Major Basilica out of the four in Rome.
Located opposite of the Arch-Basilica of St. John in Lateran are the Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta in Italian). They are believed to be the very stairs that Christ climbed on the day of his crucifixion. In 1589 they were transferred by Pope Sixtus the V from the Palace of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem to their current location. At the top of the staircase is the Sancta Sanctorum, a chapel originally dedicated to St. Lawrence. This special chapel was the first of its kind, providing a private place of worship for the papacy.
Santa Maria Maggiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Built in the fourth century, legend has it that the Virgin Mary herself influenced where the church was built. In a dream that came to both Pope Liberius and the Patrician John, she requested that a church be built in a spot that she would reveal. Then, a blanket of snow covered the Esquiline Hill on August 5th as an indication that this was the spot. For this reason, the church is sometimes nicknamed ‘Our Lady of the Snows’. The basilica still retains the bell tower (the highest in Rome) as well as some impressive fifth-century mosaics and marble columns from the medieval era.
St. Peter in Chains
The last stop on this tour is the church of St. Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli), which houses the relic of Saint Peter’s chains from the time he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. With its simple decoration, the Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli stands apart from other churches built during the same time period. The church is renown because it houses Michelangelo’s statue of Moses which was intended as a funeral monument for warrior pope, Pope Julius II.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to meet?
If you're staying in a hotel or private accommodation in the historical center of Rome, we'll come and get you! After you book, we will reach out to you for the details. Or, feel free to call or email us yourself.
What to bring?
Because the sites on this small group tour are religious, you must cover your knees and shoulders. This dress code is strictly enforced. We know that Rome is hot in summer - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.
Q: Does this tour include St. Peter's Basilica?
A: No, if you want a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica, we offer several Vatican tours, both private and small group, that include the church. We suggest combining this private Basilicas of Rome driving tour with the private Pre-Opening Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica tour.
Q: What are the chances my one of the stops on the itinerary will change?
A: We will enter some of the basilicas during mass, which means certain parts might be closed off to us. We will do out best to show you as much as possible inside the churches.
Q: I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?
A: If you have any doubts about your mobility, this is a good tour for you. Our private tours offer more flexibility in terms of pace and special accommodations.
Q: Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?
A: We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you may be refused entry to the religious sites on this private tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.
See what people are saying
4 total reviewsLeave a review
Basilica Tour of Rome
the beautiful churches and take in the history. The trip includes a van, driver, and the tour guide. The driver is native to Rome and drove around any potential delays. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable in general history, Rome, and the Basilicas. She interacted well and make the trip personable. We visited St Paul outside the walls, Scala Sancta, St John Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore, and St Peter in Chains.
Super convenient and easy- great way to see all of the Basilicas!
Giulia was very knowledgeable and friendly. We enjoyed our private tour and would definitely recommend it.
Giulia was great and so was our driver. Great trip to four basilicas. Highly recommend!