The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four major Papal Basilicas in Rome, Italy. Located between the Colosseum and Rome Termini Station, this Basilica houses an array of remarkable frescoes and holy chapels and is recognised for its beautiful interior and exterior architecture.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of four major basilicas in the city, alongside St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter’s, and St. Paul outside the Walls. The church still retains much of its ancient structure that was built between 432 and 440. This was one of the first churches to be built in honour of the Virgin Mary. The interior showcases many depictions of the Virgin Mary with Christ and scenes from the Old Testament. These are displayed in a variety of magnificent mosaics which can be found on the nave and triumphal arch. The bell tower or campanile, constructed in the 16th century, stands at 240 feet high and is the tallest in Rome. The Basilica is also abundant with beautiful frescoes that were painted by Baglione, and can be viewed in the Borghese Chapel. There are many notable areas to visit within the Basilica, and the Crypt of the Nativity, the nave mosaics, and the Triumphal Arches are just a few. Should visitors wish to see the Pope in residence at the Basilica, he usually presides over the Feast of the Assumption of Mary held here each year. There are many other Roman attractions to explore nearby. The world famous Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, and Palazzo del Quirinale are less than 20 minutes’ walk away.
It’s really easy to reach Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, as it is located just a few blocks away from Rome’s busiest station,Termini. There are metro stops nearby and bus services operating throughout the area. For visitors wishing to walk to the Basilica, it should take no longer than 30 minutes from the river or from many of the city’s main attractions.
The Basilica is also known as “Our Lady of the Snows”, a name which became popular in the 14th century after a Roman patrician and his wife pledged to donate their belongings to the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that she appeared to them on a snowy evening and showed him where to build a basilica in her honour. Today, visitors come to pay homage to the Virgin Mary and to admire the artistry, beauty, and rich heritage this church has to offer.