San Giovanni in Laterano, the Cathedral of Rome, and the mother of all churches, was the first Christian basilica to be built in the Eternal City. The church was founded by the Emperor Contantine and built between 314 and 318 on land which had once been the property of the Laterani family.
San Giovanni in Laterano was originally dedicated to Christ the Saviour, when it was known as the Basilica Sancti Salvatoris. Centuries later the church was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.
The magnificent facade was commissioned by Pope Clement XII (r. 1720-40) and built between 1732 and 1735 by the Florentine mathematician and architect, Alessandro Galilei (1691-1737). It is crowned with 15 colossal statues. In the centre stands Christ, flanked by St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.
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