Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore 3.8 rating

  Cultural Attractions

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of Saint Mary Major) is one of the 4 Papal major basilicas, built in the 5th century atop Esquiline Hill to honor Virgin Mary. The original layout remains, but the building has been reworked over the ages and the current structure majorly dates back to the 17th - 18th century. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Properties of the Holy See in the Historic Centre of Rome.

As you approach the basilica from Via Cavour leading to the Piazza dell’Esquilino, you can get a good view of the exterior of the apse with the octagonal lead domes of the Sistina and Paolina chapels on either side outlined against the sky. In the square stands the 46-feet high Colonna della Pace, relocated from the Basilica di Massenzio. Dedicated to Virgin Mary, the column and the small fountain in front of it are adorned with the papal eagles and dragons.

The interiors are typical for an Early Christian church, with a spacious nave lined by marble columns leading to a round apse which has a 13th century mosaic depicting the Coronation of the Virgin. Mosaics from the 5th century along the nave illustrate scenes from the Old Testament, and those of the Triumphal Arch show scenes from the early life of Christ. Below the high altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt which has a crystal reliquary that is believed to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ. There is also a museum on the premises. If you are in Rome on Corpus Christi (Corpus Domini), which is the Thursday following the 8th Sunday after Easter, an early-evening service is held in San Giovanni by the Pope followed by a procession along Via Merulana to Santa Maria Maggiore. It offers a good opportunity for a close up view of the Pope.

A beautiful church with gilded coffered ceiling, Cosmatesque floor, and stunning mosaics, the Basilica is a highlight of any trip to Rome.



About Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

 Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, 42, 00100 Roma, Italy

 +39 06 6988 6800

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Nearby Attractions on Map

Nearby Attractions km / mile

Colosseum(0.9 km)
One of the 7 wonders of the medieval world, the Colosseum is perhaps the most famous landmark in Rome.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain(1.3 km)
Completed in 1762 to a design by Nicola Salvi, this spectacular Baroque fountain features a mythological sculptural composition of Neptune, god of the sea, flanked by two Tritons: one Triton labours to control a violent sea-horse, the other controls a pacified creature, both symbolising the dual nature of the world's oceans.

Villa Giulia National Gallery

Villa Giulia National Gallery(2.9 km)
The most extensive collection of Etruscan art and artifacts anywhere.

Piazza di Spagna

Piazza di Spagna(1.7 km)
The Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) is the most famous square in Rome.

Church of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola
Roma dal Cielo Terrazza delle Quadrighe
Roman Forum

Roman Forum(1.1 km)
Occupying the valley between the Palatine and the Capitoline Hill, the Roman Forum was the political, religious and commercial nucleus of ancient Rome.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica(1.4 km)
Towering over the skyline of the Vatican City, the Basilica of Saint Peter is one of the largest and most renowned churches in the world.

26 Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Tickets and Tours in Rome

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