The Four Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome Through Their Medals

Director of the Numismatic Department of the Vatican Library, Dr. Eleonora Giampiccolo, speaks on papal medals—discussing why and how they are produced. An official papal medal is generally one that displays the bust or arms of the Pope on the obverse and is issued by personal order of the Pope. They were produced through the Reverend Apostolic Chamber in the Papal State, and through the Secretariat of State at present. Some papal medals issued over the centuries celebrated the works promoted by the popes to restore and embellish the four patriarchal basilicas of Rome: St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, Saint Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore), and St. Paul’s outside the walls.