How do you decide what to see in a city like Rome? You could easily spend a lifetime I think and just about cover it. The few Italians I asked this question smiled and told me how beautiful of a city it is. Yes, I agree. A friend of mine stateside told me to make sure to see all of the Basilicas. While I didn’t make it to St. Paul Outside the Walls, I covered the other major ones.
St. John Lateran was the ‘St. Peter’s’ before St. Peter’s was built. The Pope lived there and all things of Catholic importance centered there for over a thousand years. One of the things I love about cities is how easy it is to find things. The metro took me straight there but it isn’t what you would call well equipped in the signage department. I walked up to this:
Beautiful, massive, imposing, everything you might expect from an Archbasilica but I had been in Rome several days at this point. Everything pretty much is beautiful, imposing, and many are massive. The saints on the top though caught my eye and I was pretty sure I was on the right path. Until I ran into these:
Clowns. Yes, clowns. They were all over the place in front of the aforementioned possible Basilica. I was a bit confused.
Magnificent church looking building:
You see the source of my confusion?
As it turns out, this was the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. The clowns were holding a health fair and came complete with Red Cross looking vans. I believe they were offering the standard blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. checks. Their dancing and balloons were supposed to encourage attendees. I’m not sure how successful that really was.