Bassilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

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Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy

Bassilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Rome Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
110 reviews
Bassilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Mar 11, 2013
Another magnificent bassilica in Rome. The frescoes of Moses leading the Jews from captivity in Egypt over the altar date from the 5th century while the gold in the lush ceiling over the nave was supposedly brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus. The first significant church dedicated to Mary following the declaration of her as Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Bassilica of St. Mary Major sits on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. The stained glass window of the Virgin holding the infant Jesus over the main entrance is a recent addition, installed in 1994.

There are rows of confessionals inside staffed by priests who speak multiple languages, so you have no excuse not to have your sins forgiven while admiring the artworks and architecture. Since my main sin was a lack of time, I skipped the confessional and took lots of photographs. Pope Francis visited the bassilica the day after his election to pray for Mary's protection of Rome. The only popes I came across were the long dead ones buried under the floors. An amazing place to visit even if you're not Catholic.
Bassilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
Bronze door added in 1949 with sce…
Bronze door added in 2001
Outside the front entrance
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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missandrea81 says:
Not sure how I missed this one. Nice review, Bill.
Posted on: Apr 29, 2014
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tj1777 tj1777
369 reviews
Bassilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Dec 27, 2011
356 Pope Liberius decide to build a church where he found a pile of snow

Fact about Liberius: “He was pope from 352 till 366 and he is the oldest pope who still hasn’t been canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church – though he is a saint in the Orthodox Church.”

The first church at this location probably wasn’t built by Liberius but by Sixtus III in 431 and the present church is magnificent. It is located on a big piazza which it dominates. When you stand at the piazza you will have to look up a bit if you want to see the clock tower - it is the tallest in all of Rome with its 75 meters.

Inside the church it is the floor is famous for its cosmat mosaic from the 12th century - if you look up from the floor you can see the sealing which is decorated in the 16th century with the first gold brought back from Americas. The main isles in the church are surrounded by 36 columns holding the golden roof.

A bit separated from the main church you find a baptism chapel - the chapel is separated from the main church since in the early church they didn’t want people who were not baptized entering the church - hence they had to baptized in a separate location.

Somewhere in the church you should be able to find the final resting place of Bernini. Somehow I missed this spot when I was looking at the rest of the church.
The church from the outside
The tall clock tower
Top of the column at the square
Bottom of the column
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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photo by: vulindlela