The great bronze doors of the Papal Basilica of St John Lateran (Basilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano) once belonged to the ancient Curia Julia, or Senate House, which still stands in the Forum.
The doors, which date back to the reign of the emperor Domitian (r. 81-96), were moved to the basilica in 1660, at the bequest of Pope Alexander VII (r. 1655-67), who had them adorned with the heraldic eight-pointed stars of his own family, the Chigi.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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