Rome: Visit the Vatican: The Holy Stairs (Scala Santa)

Just across the street from the Basilica of Saint John Lateran is one of Rome’s most treasured places:

According to Roman Catholic tradition, The Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs (“Scala Sancta”) were the steps leading up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus Christ stepped on his way to trial during his Passion.

Medieval legends claim that Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, brought the Holy Stairs from Jerusalem to Rome circa AD 326.  In the Middle Ages, they were known as “Scala Pilati” (“Stairs of Pilate”).

For centuries, the Scala Sancta has attracted Christian pilgrims who wish to honor the Passion of Jesus Christ. Since the early 1700s, the Holy Stairs have been encased in wood for protection but were briefly exposed in 2019 following restoration work.  Today you can visit the holy

The decoration of the Scala Sancta was one of the major renovations of the pontificate of Pope Sixtus V. A major restoration was completed in 2007 and funded largely by the Getty Foundation.

Climbing the Holy Stairs on one’s knees is a devotion much in favor of pilgrims and the faithful.