In the early 4th century Emperor Constantine I built a basilica here on land previously owned by the Laterani family. Until 1309 the adjacent Lateran Palace was the official papal residence. Over the centuries the complex has been destroyed, rebuilt and renovated several times. Seen here is the North Façade - the Loggia delle Benedizione - of 1586, by Domenico Fontana, who was also commissioned by Pope Sixtus V to rebuild the Lateran Palace ( on the left ).
Being the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome ( the Pope ), it is the highest ranking Catholic church.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
 
Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano < > St John Lateran
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