Yes, you read my title correctly. It’s something of an anomaly – even bordering on humorous – that Europe’s largest mosque is located in the world’s Catholic mecca: Rome.
Indeed, just this fact alone makes the Grand Mosque of Rome (Moschea di Roma) worthy of a visit, whether you are Muslim or not.
This magnificent structure, which can accommodate more than 12,000 people for religious ceremonies, is not without plenty of controversy.
Honestly… why wouldn’t there be? It is the largest mosque outside the Islamic world, with an area of 320,000 square feet, smack dab in the center of Catholicism’s spiritual home.
In fact, the planning phase alone took more than ten years.
It wasn’t until Pope John Paul II formally gave his blessing for the project that it was able to officially begin. Though the Pope’s blessing came with a clause: the mosque’s height could not effect the Roman skyline, and thus it must be shorter than Saint Peter’s Basilica (The Vatican) by approximately one meter.
Which, I suppose, isn’t too unreasonable, considering that every single building in Rome must follow this rule. Roman law.
The Grand Mosque of Rome actually poses no threat whatsoever to the Roman skyline because it is located well outside of the main part of the city, plus, the Parioli area is one of the lower areas in Rome anyways, meaning it is practically invisible behind all the hills and trees.
When to Visit
We planned our group visit for Saturday at 10:30 am. I was surprised to find out that we had the entire mosque to ourselves. I suggest planning your visit for either Wednesday or Saturday morning, from about 9:30 am to 11:00 am.
Men: Wearing pants which cover you knees. We found that the covering of elbows is not necessary.
Women: Be sure to wear something that covers your shoulders, knees, midriff, cleavage, and a scarf to cover your head. It is not necessary to wear anything too special… I wore black pants and a T-shirt, with a cute patterned scarf.
The most important thing is to remember that you are entering a place of worship and, thus, you must be respectful and sensible.
Viale della Moschea, 85, Rome, 00199, Italy
If you are coming from the Termini station, take the Metro A from Termini to Flaminio/Popolo. From here, find the train station just north of Piazza del Popolo. You must exit the Metro to do so.
Next, you will need to take the ride about 3 stops to the Monte Antenne stop (you can use the same metro ticket).
After you exit the train at Monte Antenne, cross over to the other side of the tracks and backtrack towards the city for about 100 meters. Stay on the sidewalk on the right side of the road until you see the green gates. From here, you should be able to find the entry.
I would also advice you to buy a second transportation ticket ahead of time because the 100 minute ticket will expire during your visit and, with our luck, the machine on the return line will be sold out of tickets.
+39 06 808 2258
We had to make our reservations via cellphone.
Language of Service
Admittedly, this mosque isn’t very English tourist friendly since the language skills are limited. That being said, the guides were very kind, helpful, and tried their best to translate when they knew how to.