The Basilica of St Paul is one of the five great basilicas of Rome. It was originally built in the fourth century AD, on the site believed to be the final resting place of St Paul. Over the centuries it was extended and remodelled until 1823, when workmen spilt burning tar, starting a fire which largely destroyed the building. It was soon rebuilt, and passed officially into the hands of the Vatican as part of the 1929 Lateran treaties.
Things to see
San Paolo's open simplicity makes a welcome contrast to the ostentatiousness of San Pietro. Portraits of past popes run along the wall near the ceiling: John Paul II is at the far end as you enter, on the right.
The thirteenth century cloister is also very attractive; however, in 2008 the church installed turnstiles and are now charging an excessive €3 to visit the cloister. Apparently priests and nuns may enter free, but it's a little overpriced for anybody else. (This was part of an ill-advised commercialisation of San Paolo, which also includes an expanded gift shop and a small room with snack machines.)
Visiting San Paolo Fuori le Mura
The Basilica is a couple of miles out of the centre but it's easily reachable on foot from the metro stop that bears its name (Basilica San Paolo on Linea B).
Opening hours Open 7:30-18:30.
Ticket prices Entrance for the church is free. Access to the cloisters costs €3.