History of the seven churches pilgrimage
The tradition of the seven churches pilgrimage – pellegrinaggio delle sette chiese – began with father Filippo Neri from Florence in the year 1551. He organized on holidays walks outside the city walls with church attendance and picnic.
Later it became a 15 miles pilgrimage walk.
The four Papal Basilicas are among the seven churches:
St. Peter, St. Paul outside the walls, St. John and Santa Maria Maggiore (great St. Mary’s Church).
The other three churches are San Sebastiano (St. Sebastian) with the catacombs on the via Appia Antica, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem) and San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence) at the monumental graveyard Verano.
How to reach the seven churches pilgrimage
All sightseeing tours Hop on hop off stop in the vicinity of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
You get to St. Paul outside the walls with the Metro line B.
To San Sebastiano on the Via Appia Antica at the catacombs you can take the busses 118 or 218.
San Giovanni you can reach with the metro line A or with tram line 3.
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, San Lorenzo and the monumental cemetery Verano you can reach with the tram lines 3 and 19.
Route of the seven churches pilgrimage
The seven churches pilgrimage has the following order:
From the city center to Saint Peter.
From Saint Peter to Saint Paul outside the walls. Bus line 23.
From Saint Paul walking over the via delle Sette Chiese (street of the seven churches) to San Sebastiano at the catacombs.
From San Sebastiano to the Pontifical Basilica of San Giovanni. Bus number 218.
from there continue walking to the nearby Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
and then take the tram line 3 to San Lorenzo outside the city walls.
From there, it goes back to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Until San Giovanni take the tram number 3 and from there walking or by bus over the Via Merulana.
Pope John Paul II has still extended the way by establishing the sanctuary of the Madonna del Divino amore (Madonna of divine love) instead of St. Sebastian. This did not prevail, since the pilgrims way would have been extended by around 15 miles.