Entrance to the Sancta Sanctorum (in the Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs)

According to an ancient Christian tradition, the Empress St. Helena in 326 carried to Rome the Staircase which Jesus had ascended several times on the day of his death sentence. The stair was transported to Rome from Pilate's praetorium in Jerusalem.

For this reason it was called Scala Pilati or Scala Sancta.The Holy Stairs owe their name to the 28 steps leading to the Chapel that the faithful climb on their knees to venerate the Passion of Jesus.


from € 4,00


The Scala Sancta It is certain that it was once located in the Patriarchium, or the complex of the Lateran Buildings, the ancient seat of the Popes, and that in 1589 Pope Sixtus V had it moved to the Papal Chapel where it remained to form the single building we can still admire today. Pius IX (1846/1878) had it restored and promoted the cult of the great relic by building the adjacent convent which he entrusted to the religious members of the Passionist congregation in 1853.

Sancta Sanctorum is the wonderful chapel in front of which pilgrims, after reaching the final step of the Holy Stairs, may pray through the iron grating protecting it. According to Medieval historians it was “the most venerated sanctuary in Rome”.

It was the private chapel of the Popes until the Renaissance period, still here as a testimony of the splendour of the ancient Patriarchìo and a millennium of Roman Pontifical history. We do not as yet know who founded it.

The advantages

  • You have two options for visiting:
  1. Entrance only
  2. Entrance with the help of an audioguide in the following languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish and German
  • Show the ticket directly on your smartphone and start the visit


Entrance only

  • Entrance to papal chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum - full price                                                  € 4,00
  • Entrance to papal chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum - reduced 6/17 years                                 € 3,00

Entrance with audio guide

  • Entrance to papal chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum with audio guide - full price                       € 6,00
  • Entrance to papal chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum with audio guide - reduced 6/17 years      € 5,00

Information and reception

How to reach us

Metro: line A, San Giovanni stop (5 minutes on foot from the station)

Opening time Holy Stairs and the Papal Chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum: 

  • from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 17:00.
  • Sunday from 15:00 to 17:00

Audio guide languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German

from € 4,00