Santa Maria Maggiore Overview

Santa Maria Maggiore, located on the top of Esquiline Hill is one of the earliest churches in the world devoted to Virgin Mary. One of Rome's four main basilicas and an extraterritorial possession of the Vatican, it features one of the city's best-preserved Byzantine interiors. Witness the Old Testament-themed mosaics in the triumphal arch and nave from the fifth century.

Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome's four main basilicas, is among the initial places of worship to honor the Virgin Mary. You can visit the Maggiore, one of the largest Catholic Marian churches in Rome to have a comprehensive look of mosaics from the fifth century, relics of Christ's crib, and historic Virgin Mary imagery. The Basilica offers excellent spirituality, and you can also visit the tombs of Popes Sixtus V and Pius V located in the lavishly designed Cappella Sistina.  

Santa Maria Maggiore happens to be the only Patriarchal Basilicas in Rome that has retained its original design, though getting various improvisations with time. Because of these developments, various architectural styles can be witnessed at the Maggiore ranging from early Christian to Baroque. The interior murals on the ceiling can be attributed to the Renaissance Era, but the domes, chapel, and columns are all constructed in the usual Baroque style. The basilica also houses the revered Salus Populi Romani statue, which honors the Blessed Virgin Mary as the protector and helper of the Romans. 

Also Checkout: Rome Walking Tours


• Visit the Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the popular spiritual centers for meditation and prayer, as it is one of the seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome.
• Capture wonderful street views of the main marketplaces in the city and views of the stunning interiors with a fascinating history.
• Pay a visit to the tombs of Popes Sixtus V and Pius V which are located in the lavishly designed Cappella Sistina created by Domenico Fontana in the 16th century.
• Explore the gift shop next to the church, The Museo del Tesoro which houses a sparkling collection of holy artifacts.
• At the Loggia delle Benedizioni, have a look at the Filippo Rusuti-made mosaics on the facade that dates back to the 13th century.

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