The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

By June 26, 2021 Monuments

The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore-gabbiaservices

The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four papal churchs (church of higher rank) in Rome and the only one to have preserved the original early Christian structure, albeit with some additions.


Legend has it that it arose at the explicit request of the Virgin Mary, who appeared in a dream to Pope Liberius (352-366).

It was actually erected a century later by Pope Sixtus III on the site of an earlier church.


The Church is located in Esquilino square on the top of the homonymous hill, on the peak of the Cispio, between the Rione Monti and the Esquilino.

It is the only Church in Rome to have preserved the primitive early Christian structure, albeit enriched by subsequent additions.

Legal status.

The building of the Church, including the external stairways, constitutes an extraterritorial area in favor of the Holy See.

The Church enjoys, together with other buildings and on the basis of agreements between the Italian State and the Holy See, the privilege of extraterritoriality

and the exemption from expropriations and taxes,

as established by the Lateran Pacts and formalized in the Villa Madama Agreement.

The Church

The Papal Church of S. Maria Maggiore is an authentic jewel full of priceless beauties.

For about sixteen centuries it has dominated the city of Rome.

Marian temple par excellence and cradle of artistic civilization, it represents a reference point for the cives mundi,

who come from all over the globe to the Eternal City to taste what the Church offers through its monumental grandeur.


Basilica S.M, Maggiore interno-gabbiaservices


Alone, one of the major Church of Rome, to preserve the original structures of its time,

albeit enriched with later additions, it has some peculiarities inside that make it unique:

  • The mosaics of the central nave and the triumphal arch dating from the 5th century AD made during the pontificate of Sixtus III (432-440)

    and those of the apse whose execution was entrusted to the Franciscan friar Jacopo Torriti by order of Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292).

  • The “cosmatesque” floor donated by the knights Scotus Paparone and son in 1288,

  • Coffered ceiling in gilded wood designed by Giuliano San Gallo (1450);

  • The crib of the thirteenth century. by Arnolfo da Cambio;

  • ¬†Numerous chapels (from the Borghese one to the Sistine one, from the Sforza chapel to the Cesi one, from that of the Crucifix to the almost disappeared one of San Michele);

  • The High Altar by Ferdinando Fuga and later enriched by the genius of Valadier;

  • finally, the Relic of the Sacred Cradle and the Baptistery.


Every column, every painting, every sculpture, every single piece of this Basilica epitomize historicity and religious sentiments.

The numerous treasures contained in it make S. Maria Maggiore a place where art and spirituality come together in a perfect union offering visitors those unique emotions

typical of the great works of man inspired by God.

Photo of  The Church


Inside The Church




The Church by night


The Church seen from behind


Rome is not just a city …

Come and visit its beauties …



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