Rome Guided Tours

Rome of the Mosaics

Embark on a journey of discovery through the Eternal City's finest mosaics.

  • Availability

    On Request

  • Duration

    4 hours

  • Start time

    On Request

  • Private tour

    On Request

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Why Choose it?

  • Discover a new side of the Eternal City seeking out its many mosaics.
  • Unlock the artistic secrets that have shaped our world.
  • Immerse yourself in the Christian and Byzantine mosaic masterpieces.

Tour description

Mosaics were among the most popular and beautiful ancient artforms. For thousands of years, ancient civilizations from the Mesopotamians to the Greeks and Romans decorated their homes, temples, and monuments with multi-material mosaics. Mosaics in the city of Rome originally appeared only in rich private residences. From the 1st century AD, however, with the influx of riches from Rome's foreign conquests,  Roman mosaics started decorating public spaces. The scenes they depicted varied, but their beauty always remained the same. 

Mosaic artists introduced gold to their creations during the Christian and Byzantine period. This addition furnished visually breathtaking mosaic artworks, many of which have lived for centuries within the holy walls of the Eternal City. Our Rome of the Mosaics Tour takes you on a journey through some of Rome's most stunning churches and basilicas - from San Clemente, Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Prassede and San Giovanni in Laterano - as we seek out mosaic art. If mosaics are your passion, we can also take you to visit the Vatican Mosaic School to learn the craft behind how these masterpieces are created.

Marvel at the medieval mosaics of San Clemente.

The richly decorated Church of San Clemente is an art-lover's paradise. Ornamenting its historic walls is a splendid series of apse mosaics, dating from the early 12th century and shining in burnished gold. These richly embellished mosaics depict traditional Christian scenes, featuring figures of Christ and the Apostles - characters we will meet elsewhere. 

Discover the 13th century mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore.

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore contains some of the most stunning apse mosaics in Rome - perhaps even in the world. Dating to the 13th century, they were created by Jacopo Torriti who also worked on the mosaics of Saint John the Lateran. Santa Maria Maggiore's apse is truly spectacular, combining an eye-catching wash of shining burnished gold with the technical subtlety of Byzantine form and colour.

Admire the mosaics of the Basilica of Santa Prassede.

Not far away from Santa Maria Maggiore on Rome's Esquiline Hill, the Basilica of Santa Prassede is one of the least known yet more impressive churches in the city. Modelled on Constantinople's Basilica of Saint Peter's, the entire church had a decorative programme consisting of mosaics. Because of this heavily Byzantine influence, and the church's rich ornamentation, many believe Santa Prassede contains Rome's richest decorative mosaics outside the Vatican's Saint Peter's Basilica.

Discover the ancient mosaics of Santa Pudenziana.

The mosaics within the Basilica of Santa Pudenziana are among Rome's earliest. Dating to the 5th century, the mosaics were made in the immediate aftermath of Alaric the Goth's sack of Rome in 410. They show invaluable scenes of the imperial city - helping us reconstruct how sites like the Roman Forum looked like. Yet the mosaic artists also adapted them in line with the Christian message of the time: replacing the emperor Constantine with the figure of Christ enthroned and the senators that thronged him with figures of the apostles. 

Enjoy an optional visit to the Vatican Mosaic School.

The artisans of the Vatican Mosaic School hold responsibility for the upkeep and restoration of Saint Peter's Basilica's plethora of mosaics. If you would like to visit this storied school, we can organize this at the culmination of your private Rome of the Mosaics tour. Discover the tradition and techniques behind their trade and deepen your understanding and appreciation of this magnificent art-form. 

Please note, shoulders and knees need to be covered to enter all religious sites, such as San Clemente, Santa Maria Maggiore, and Santa Prassede.

included:

Licensed tour guide

itinerary:

  • San Clemente
  • Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Basilica di Santa Prassede
  • Santa Pudenziana
  • Vatican Mosaic School (Optional)

Wheelchair accessible:

Yes. (Itinerary may differ as San Clemente is not accessible).

meeting point:

Hotel

see on map

excellent guides

Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for the inspiring cultural heritage of our Italian cities. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!