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Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

(4.8/5 based on 10,000+ reviews on the web)
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, a World Heritage site crowning the top of the Esquiline Hill, features fifth-century mosaics that are some of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary. This ancient church is renowned for all its ancient mosaics, which are particularly impressive when the floodlights are turned on. The depictions of the site's triumphal arch and the nave served as models for many other representations of the Virgin Mary created during subsequent centuries. The building contains a 14th-century bell tower, the highest in the city. The site's 16th-century coffered ceiling is said to be gilded with Incan gold that Christopher Columbus initially brought for his patrons, Spain's joint rulers Ferdinand and Isabella. The church also includes a museum that details the history of the site and features several notable works of art. For Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and beyond, use our Rome vacation route planner to get the most from your Rome vacation.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Really surprised by this visit. Little world and yet a magnificent Church. Definitely worth the trip, we have it, on some level, found much more beautiful than St. Peter's Basilica.
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  • It is also known as Basilica of snows, in the upstairs a few wonderful mosaics of the time are still preserved. It is worth to see it.
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  • We think that the decoration of the ceiling is the most impressive, extremely beautiful. Floor mosaics were also beautiful.
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Google
  • We thought the church was closed when we visited it from via Cavour. It was good we walked around and discovered that it was open from via dell’Olmata’s entrance. There is a queue for security inspection. The paintings on its walls and ceilings are very beautiful. The faces of the women look like angels and the men look godly. Confessions were ongoing. The church has many chapels in both sides with a theme per chapel.
  • It was one of the last churches I've visited in Rome, so after seeing so many beautiful churches in one trip, it seemed kinda average in comparison. If you're in the area, drop by, but it's not a must-see landmark.
  • We happened to visit on Sunday while a mass was in progress. We sat and enjoyed the service while a male choir sang hymns beautifully. The Basilica is beautiful. Ornate gold leaf ceiling panels, statues, frescos all beautifully carved painted and looked after. The chapels to the sides of the basilica were closed but you could see how beautiful they are through the iron gates. This is one of the largest basilicas in Rome and we'll worth spending some time taking in the calm quiet atmosphere. You should not be dissapointed. Security is high so be prepared to queue to get in through the metal detectors. Clothing needs to be suitable. No bare shoulders or thighs. Women would be offered sari style scarves to cover bare shoulders or thighs. It is appropriate to accept the custom and not offend anyone Some people are turned away. A shame to miss such an opportunity.
  • There is a small que for security checks but once inside you are free to wander about. The Papal Basilica is beautiful, particularly the stained glass window above the entrance. There are also plenty of lovely marble sculptures to enjoy.
  • Nice place to visit. Absolutely not crowded. You take all time to see and breath its holy admosphere.