The Lateran Palace
In ancient Roman times the Lateran Palace was a palace belonging to Roman noblemen but later it became the major papal residence. It was originally kwon as the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran. The Lateran Palace is one of the major Lateran buildings in Rome. It was the primary Apostolic residence prior to the Avignon Exile.
Nowadays the Lateran Palace displays the history of the Papal States. The Lateran Palace is now occupied by the Museo Storico Vaticano. In addition, the Lateran Palace houses some residential apartments of the Cardinal Vicar and the offices of the Vicariate of Rome. During the ancient days, the Lateran Palace also housed some of the collections and relics of the Lateran Museum, which were later distributed in different museums of Vatican.
The Lateran Palace is next to the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, which is the cathedral church of Rome. The Lateran Palace obtained its name from the Laterani family whose family members served as administrators for numerous Roman emperors and donated land, property and funded several projects in Rome.
Despite the change of its use, the Lateran Palace has remained an incredibly well kept palace and it is now an important part of the Roman Catholic Church's history. The palace is surrounded by several gardens and structures that make it a tourist attraction. Different popes who have ruled Rome have also used the Lateran Palace to serve various purposes; mostly for holding important meetings. It is at the Lateran Palace that the Lateran Treaty was signed on 11th February 1929.
The Lateran Palace is open to the public and tourists are allowed to visit the palace especially in the morning hours. In case you are new to the place, you will be guided through the whole palace and shown important sites and their meanings. The Lateran Palace itself is an incredible place to visit. The inside of the palace is full of historical relics and artifacts created by the great artists of Rome. It is here that the popes used to reside and therefore it is given the attention and respect it deserves. There is tight security in the place and no incidences of crimes despite the high crime rate in Rome.
It is also important to note that the Lateran Palace was destroyed by fires in 1307 and 1361.Due to the damage the ancient building of the Lateran Palace was replaced with the same structure, which is the current Lateran Palace, during the papacy of Pope Sixtus V. The restructuring was designed and supervised by architect Fontana.
The Lateran Palace houses the famous Scala Sancta and as it is among the holiest places in Rome, you will meet many people visiting the Lateran Palace especially in the morning hours.