4 Papal Basilicas Tour

Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims throughout the centuries and enter the 4 Papal Basilicas of Rome…

  • Papal Basilica of St Peter Pic

    Papal Basilica of St Peter

  • Papal Basilica of St Paul Pic

    Papal Basilica of St Paul

  • Papal Basilica of St John Lateran Pic

    Papal Basilica of St John Lateran

  • Papal Basilica of St Mary Major Pic

    Papal Basilica of St Mary Major

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Ancient 4 Papal Basilicas of Rome Tour Description

Previously known as the Holy Doors Tour during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, with the closing of the Holy Doors, this tour is now the tour of the Four Ancient Papal Major Basilicas of Rome.

Despite the end of the Holy Year, many of the points that Pope Francis made in his opening Bull are still applicable. The Pope said that

“the practice of pilgrimage has a special place ... because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a ‘viator’, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making their way to the desired destination....May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the 4 Papal Basilicas, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us...”

It is fitting therefore, that our Holy Mother the Church, has always attached indulgences to pilgrims who visit the 4 Major Papal Basilicas of Rome in order to help and encourage the faithful to participate ever more deeply in the love of God.

Following in the steps of countless saints and pilgrims for centuries and millenia before you, we give you the chance to visit the official Four Papal Basilicas of Rome and dispose yourselves towards the receipt of the attached indulgences.

The Ancient Four Papal Basilicas of Rome are the Basilica of St Peter, the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica of St Mary Major and the Arch-Basilica of St John Lateran.

Pilgrims booked with us on this tour will have the chance to enter into each of these Papal Basilicas with an expert guide.

Our tour begins at the Vatican with the Basilica of St Peter. As this is also the location of the magnificent Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, we offer pilgrims an additional add-on to visit these wonders before the Basilica of St Peter. If pilgrims choose this option, then the total Four Papal Basilicas tour will have a duration of 6.5 - 7 hours and will begin at 9am. If however, pilgrims prefer to dispense with the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, then the tour will begin at 9am, and have a duration of 4.5 hours.

Once you have entered through the Holy Doors of St Peters, our expert Catholic guide will give you a tour of the interior of the Basilica including Michelangelo's Pietà, the relics and altars of the major saints of the Catholic Church and the history involved.

After the Basilica of St Peter, pilgrims are then transported by air conditioned mini van to the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls where the remains of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, St Paul, lies to this day. Entering through the Holy Doors, pilgrims will again be given a short tour of the Basilica.

From there, the group is once again transported by minivan to the ancient Basilica of St Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore) to once more enter and experience a tour of the Basilica which includes visiting the chapel containing relics of the manger of Bethlehem and relics of saints and popes.

After this thrilling experience, we once again board the minivan to be taken up the road to the Arch-Basilica of St John Lateran (San Giovanni) - the Cathedral of Rome. Here, the group once more receives a detailed tour of the interior and its history.

The Four Papal Basilicas now completed, we don't stop there however! The group will continue on to the Holy Stairs - the steps that Christ was judged by Pilate upon that were transported by the mother of Constantine, St Helena, from Jerusalem to Rome in the 4th Century.

This is truly a once in a lifetime experience for you to plug into the life of the Church and experiene what countless Catholics have experienced through the years. Pilgrims are advised to book quickly below to avoid disappointment. We book up quickly, so don't delay.


Highlights of this tour include:

  • Vatican Museums (optional)
  • Sistine Chapel (optional)
  • Papal Basilica of St Peter
  • Papal Basilica of St Paul
  • Papal Basilica of St Mary Major
  • Papal Basilica of St John Lateran
  • Holy Stairs of Christ's judgment

Start Times

9am (Mondays & Thursdays)
Other times available on request for VIP Tours. Please contact us.


around 4.5 hours
6.5-7 hours with the Museums add-on.


Meeting Point

Obelisk in St Peter's Square

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What Other People Are Saying (15 Reviews)

"Incredible Touring Experience!"
May 22, 2017
5 5 out of 5
My daughter and wife contacted Eternal City Tours for a day and a half of tour since we were in Rome for a short time and wanted to see as much as possible. The other consideration is that we are Catholic and thought it would be of benefit to have a tour from guides that understood our faith. That said, this tour company would be of benefit for anyone regardless of faith. We had 3 different guides over the one and one half days. They all attended university in Rome and had an incredible knowledge of the area we were exploring with them. I felt as if I were on a walking tour with a university professor who loved what he did and also loved sharing his knowledge with others. I'm convinced that we covered more ground in our day and a half that one could cover in 3 or 4 days. From the Catholic standpoint, it was amazing. I learned much more than just who the artist was, it was a very moving experience...it felt more like a Pilgrimage. I would recommend this company to anyone who really wants a quality experience with guides that are educators.
Reviewed by
"Eternal City Tours are highly recommended!"
May 15, 2017
5 5 out of 5
Excellent personal attention with a knowledgeable and flexible tour guide (Paul). He is originally from Denver, Colorado. Highly recommend!!!
Reviewed by
"Made our trip to Rome!!!"
May 13, 2017
5 5 out of 5
We arrived in Rome on an early Monday morning and Eternal City Tours (we worked with Tom) was more than willing to schedule us for a later start of the day for the Papal Basilica Tour which was a great start to our time in Rome. Some of these basilicas are out of the way, but if you are a Catholic visiting Rome, they are a must-see. Our tour guide was great and made sure that we knew the history of each basilica and gave us enough time to really take in each place. We were in no way rushed. The next day we did the "Rome Was Not Built in a Day Tour" which covered all of the big sites in Rome, plus some added on beautiful churches and cathedrals. Our tour guides were amazing the second day as well. The tours were fantastic as we were able to cover much more than we would have on our own. Plus, the information (historical, art history, etc.) was like taking a college class. Our groups were small (at some points, just us). Finally we felt at home with our guides based on out shared Catholic faith and world views. Definitely recommend this company for touring Rome. Great way to see the city!!!
Reviewed by
"Made our trip to Rome!!!"
May 13, 2017
5 5 out of 5
Excellent, Excellence, Excellent. Our guide Paul was great. He was so knowledgeable and knew such details we were amazed. He also answered all of our questions. The other great thing there was only 2 of us so it was very personal.
Reviewed by
"Great tour experience during a very busy time in Rome, with a Catholic angle"
April 10, 2017
5 5 out of 5
My family of 5 (my wife and I with our three teenage sons) were privileged enough to experience the Four Papal Basilicas tour with Eternal City Tours on the Monday of Holy Week. It was really excellent in every way. We visited Rome during Holy Week, and were drawn to Eternal City when we saw that it was a Catholic tour company and would therefore provide perhaps a bit of a different perspective to other companies (as we are a Catholic family). One consideration, however, was that we were in Rome for Holy Week, one of the busiest times to visit, and we were a bit apprehensive about visiting the Vatican Museums with a smaller tour company that might not have the same level of "skip the line" access as other companies might. After some email correspondence we grew comfortable enough to book our tour with Eternal City and we are very glad we did. We met our guide (Marc Anthony) at 9AM just outside the Vatican walls and proceeded to head to the Vatican museums. The lines were already to enter were already tremendous (for people without "special access" it was already well in excess of an hour long) but Marc proved his ability to navigate through the "skip the line" entrance available to tours and got us in very quickly (only a few minutes wait). The museums were already very crowded, and we had a packed itinerary as we had customized our tour to add a climb to the top of St. Peter's, so Marc paced our tour through the museums briskly but very efficiently, spending time at a few select attractions, in the Raphael rooms, and explaining what we'd see in the Sistine Chapel. He really did a great job. After the Sistine Chapel, Marc handed us over to Paul, the owner and founder of Eternal City, and Paul was our guide for the rest of our day, which involved climbing to the top of St. Peter's, going through the basilica, having lunch at a nearby restaurant just outside of Vatican City, and then visiting the other three Papal basilicas (St Paul Outside the Walls, St Mary Major, St John Lateran). Paul is very knowledgeable, the basilicas are all magnificent, and we were able to make up for some delays with climbing to the top of St. Peter's (where there is no "skip the line" option) and finish by 5PM. It was a long but very nice day. Along the way there were two noteworthy points which really demonstrated the value of picking a Catholic tour company. As we walked from Mary Major to St. John Lateran, we stopped into a church along the way that contains the stone post that Jesus was apparently chained to during his trial, and across the street from St. John Lateran, Paul pointed out a church where the steps from the praetorium in Jerusalem had been moved to and recommended we might want to stop in there after the tour. Visiting those steps (which you need to climb on your knees) was a pretty moving experience. So in purely "secular" terms this would have been an "Excellent" tour review, but the religious angle was a nice bonus for us.
Reviewed by
"Superb Vatican & Basilicas Tour"
April 05, 2017
5 5 out of 5
My son and I have just returned from a visit to Rome. We booked a private tour day with eternal city tours which was amazing. Our guides were both learned and streetwise! They gave us the theology and history, cultural & political, of each place we visited and showed us truly memorable aspects. Thank you Blitch and Natalie for looking after us and making our short time in Rome more of a joy than we hoped for.
Reviewed by
"Holy Doors Jubilee tour"
November 21, 2016
5 5 out of 5
Our tour guide was Blitch Vizioli...what an amazing man...the tour was everything we had hoped for...we travelled from Australia to come to Rome for this trip of a life to time to experience the Jubilee of Mercy and the Closing of the Holy Doors of the Basilica of St. Peter's...nothing was too much for Blitch..he was well versed in the Catholic faith...no questions were out of his depth he went above and beyond to ensure that no stone was left unturned...spiritually this tour was everything and then much more because of his efforts...this day was the highlight of our trip...he exceeded our expectations by supplying us with tickets to the mass on Sunday that he obtained from the Swiss guards ...we are truly in his debt..thank you again I would have no hesitations in dealing with this company on future tours...absolutely amazing
Reviewed by
"6/5 Stars!"
November 21, 2016
5 5 out of 5
Nothing too much can be said of this company. When everything is just so perfect. I am quite a particular traveller. I like things to go MY way. Eternal did exactly just that. I wanted to have a fully custom, fully flexible tour, they provided it. They sent two super knowledgable guides, that followed our pace. Often tour are very single dimension. They talk you listen, I guess bcs of my small sized group it became they talk, I ask, they answer. Tom replied my emails super fast too! I like that. I feel that I am being taken care of. Like the title says: 6 of 5 stars. To other Travellers, look no more, these are the right guides for Rome and the Vatican.
Reviewed by
"Like Having a Personalized High Quality PBS Tour"
October 23, 2016
5 5 out of 5
We booked a Tour that included a visit to all four major basilicas. Our guide was James Good and my wife and I were absolutely delighted and thrilled with the quality, care and professionalism we experienced with Eternal City Tours. James was extremely knowledgeable and more importantly was very friendly and personable throughout the tour. As someone who lives in Rome, he shared not only his encyclopedic knowledge of the basilicas but also insights to living in Rome. We made a coffee stop at Panella l'Arte del Pane where we were treated like friends hanks to a James' connections. He also gave us a number of very useful recommendations to improve our visit and stay in Rome. We enjoyed spending time with him and commend Eternal City Tours for delivering on their promise of a high quality experience.
Reviewed by
"A Wonderful Tour!"
October 14, 2016
5 5 out of 5
We totally enjoyed the Holy Doors tour. We were impressed by the knowledge that James imparted judging the tour and we highly recommend this tour.
Reviewed by
"Chad was the best we've ever had!"
October 13, 2016
5 5 out of 5
Chad Deffler was the best guide we have ever had. We have traveled quite a lot in recent years and used a lot of guides. Chad was able to explain and answer all questions with absolute accuracy and clarity. His knowledge of Rome, religious history, and philosophy was incredible. All this was done in a manner that kept the tour interesting.
Reviewed by
"Our guide Matthew was fantastic!"
September 30, 2016
5 5 out of 5
Holy Doors Tour - 26th September 2016
Our guide Matthew was fantastic. He went the extra mile to explain and show us everything.
He didn't rush us and gave us ample opportunity to ask questions.
Many thanks to him, Tour of the Holy Doors was our reason to visit Rome and he made it all worthwhile.
We will definitely book with Eternal City tours again and request Matthew to be our Guide.
One in a million. Please let him know we appreciated his company and knowledge and hope to meet him again with Eternal City Tours.
Reviewed by
"Great Day With A Fantastic Guide!"
August 01, 2016
5 5 out of 5
Great day with a fantastic guide! Everything worked out perfect. Ask for Blitch...he rocks...literally!!!
He was the best guide we've ever experienced.
Reviewed by
"Couldn't Have Been Happier!"
June 23, 2016
5 5 out of 5
Blitch was our guide and he was outstanding. Couldn't have been happier!
Reviewed by
"Spectacular Tour - Exceeded Our Expectations!"
June 22, 2016
5 5 out of 5
We booked this Holy Doors tour of the 4 Papal Basilicas because we specifically wanted a tour guide with knowledge about Rome and its churches' history with an emphasis on Catholicism. We got more than we could ask for with James Good. He was like a walking encyclopedia! With our small family group of four, it was like having a private tour guide. Walking through the Holy Doors at the four major basilicas was very significant to us. The basilicas were all majestic, and we were in awe of the relics and how close we were to Saints Peter and Paul's tombs. Imagine being in the presence of those who walked with Christ! Again, James’s extensive knowledge made the tour so much more meaningful. He was also flexible with our schedule and went above and beyond our expectations. The Holy Doors tour was special to us as pilgrims during this Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy. We were also pleased to know that we were contributing to Eternal City Tours' mission as a non-profit to fund Catholic Education Scholarships. A great tour for a great cause!
Reviewed by