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    Basilica of St. Mary Major

    Basilica of St. Mary Major

    Basilica of St. Mary Major

    In italian : Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

    In August 356, Pope Liberius had a dream in which the Holy Virgin appeared to him.By way of a snowfall at a site on the Esquiline Hill, she told him where to build the basilica. Why not? In fact, the church was also once called St. Mary of the Snows.
    However, it seems that the true, authentic basilica was erected and dedicated to Mary by Sixtus III after the Council of Ephesus in 431.

    Despite the passing of time and reshuffles, Saint Mary Major’s Basilica conserves 3 fifth century aisles separated by 40 monolithic columns of marble and granite.The transept dates to 1288 under Niccolò IV. The ceiling is Renaissance and the bell tower is from around the fourteenth century. At 75 meters, it is the tallest in Rome.The side chapels were added in the sixteenth century.

    The apse was made in the early seventeenth by architect Carlo Rainaldi who revamped a project by Bernini.
    The new façade was made by Ferdinando Fuga (mid 18th century).He also remodeled the interior, though preserving its original early Christian structure.The altar’s baldachin is also by him.

    At the center of the square of the Esquiline Square (Esquilino) is a tall column originally from the Mausoleum of Augustus and erected in 1587.

    The church has important chapels, like the Sistine Chapel, also called the Blessed Sacrament of Domenico Fontana (1585) and the Pauline Chapel of Flaminio Ponzo (1605-1613).The first is a copy of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and which retains a popular icon of the Virgin Mary (Salus Populi ) from the ninth century, which in popular legend would have saved the town from a plague.We should also mention, in passing, among the beauties kept in the basilica, the presence of the Sforza chapel. It was built in the sixteenth century by Giacomo dalla Porta from a design originally by Michelangelo.


    Timetable of the basilica

    • 7 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.
    • Free entrance
    • The guided tour allows access to the Loggia delle Benedizioni, the Hall of the Popes, and the stairway of Bernini
      Price € 3.00

    More informations


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    Sainte-Marie Majeure

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    Sainte-Marie Majeure 41.897454, 12.498729 Sainte-Marie Majeure

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