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Why visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome?

The Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (“Saint Mary Major”) deserves a visit for all its charm, beauty and history. Today we are going to talk about this beautiful Basilica in Rome!

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (Source: Flick)
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Why visit the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome?

The Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (“Saint Mary Major”) is a real jewel of beauty of very precious value. Over sixteen centuries ago, overlooking the city of Rome, it has been a point of reference for the citizens of the world who come from all over the Eternal City to admire the Basilica, and looking for what it offers through its monumental grandeur. But why visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome? Here atYour Travel to Italy with Ana Patriciayou make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”

Introduction

Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest of the churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is one of the four major basilicas in the city (together with the Basilica of Saint Peter, Saint John in lateran and Saint Paul outside the Walls). It was built at the top of Mount Esquilino, and is the only one to have preserved the early Christian structure, although reinforced by later adjustments. It was built in the fifth century AD in an old church, built thanks to the funding of a wealthy Roman patrician. Also read What to visit near Rome? The best rides from Rome.

Basilica Decoration

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is also known as Our Lady of the Snows or Liberian Basilica (named after the founder, Pope Liberius). The complete building was restored and renovated in the 18th century, so that the exterior, and a large part of the interior decoration, were from that time. The roof decoration is preserved from the Renaissance, while the domes and chapels, from the Baroque period. The Church still exhibits several architectural styles, from the Baroque to the beginning of the paleochristian.

The Mix of Styles

It is this extraordinary mixture of styles and this heterogeneity, belonging to different ages, that makes it particularly interesting. Like the pieces of a unique and extraordinary mosaic, the Basilica summarizes the most important stages of Christian art in Rome. The profound transformation of the basilica took place between the late 16th and early 17th centuries by Popes Sixtus V and Paul V, who built the two large side chapels, hence the names: Sistine Chapel and Pauline Chapel, and the palace to the right of the facade. The last major restoration, which gave the church the aspect we admire today, needed the creativity of Ferdinando Fuga, the Florentine architect who completed the construction and rebuilt it, creating one of the best known examples of the so-called Roman Baroque.

Enjoy Mount Esquilino Square

The interior of the Basilica preserved, despite numerous interventions, the typical structure of the first Christian basilicas with the rear facade of the church that opens in Piazza Monte Esquilino (Mount Esquilino Square), where you can see a fountain designed by Domenico Fontana and the Obelisk, a Roman work built inspired by the Egyptian obelisks.

Attractions inside the Basilica

Inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore there are some singularities that make it unique, such as the mosaics of the central arch, the triumphal arch, and the floor where the ‘Cosmatesco’ are, donated by the knights Scoto Paparone and his son. The ceiling was designed in gilded wooden boxes by Giuliano San Gallo, the 13th century Nativity Scene, by Arnolfo di Cambio, the many chapels, the Borghese and the Sistine. And, again, the altar by Ferdinando Fuga and, finally, the Relic of the Holy Cradle and the Baptistery.

Useful Information

These riches make the Basilica a place where art and spirituality combine in a perfect union, offering visitors unique emotions when contemplating the great works of man inspired by God. Each column, painting, each sculpture, each piece in this Basilica is the summary of its history and its religious feelings. As with other major basilicas, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is characterized by the presence of numerous mosaics that decorate above the arches.

All mosaics are of the Sistine age and represent a cycle of stories from the Old Testament. In the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini is buried. The opening hours of the Basilica are from 7:00 am to 06:45 pm every day. After this tour I recommend a cruise with dinner and live music for the night in Rome, click here to learn more!

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Hotel I suggest near the Historic Center

If you are passionate about art and would like to stay in the center where you can move around walking, as well as having countless possibilities for places to have lunch / dinner or a snack, I advise you to stay in the historic center. Regions near the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Imperial Forum and the Villa Borghese, Piazza Spagna and Piazza Navona can be considered as “historic center”. These are the most expensive areas, but you will be close to everything, literally!

If you want to save a great option is the B&B, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

If you prefer a good hotel, I have three options that I really like, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotels that I suggest near the San Giovanni Region

For those who want to find cheaper alternatives in quiet areas, but at the same time close to the means of transport to the center, I suggest the region of San Giovanni or Monti (near the metro stations San Giovanni, Castro Pretorio and Circus Massimo) – which it is a more residential neighborhood; therefore, more economical and quiet! And with just 15 minutes by subway you will be in the center too!

I have two options for Hotels that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

I have two options of B&B that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotels I suggest near Vatican City

An interesting area to stay and a little cheaper than the historic center is the Vatican area (Vatican Museums) which is very well connected with everything.

I have two options of B&B that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

If you prefer a hotel, I have three options that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotel I suggest near Termini Station

For those who prefer to stay in neighborhoods that have good access to the rest of the city and at a better price, then you should choose accommodation in the surroundings of Termini Station (from where a dense network of public means of transport starts, serving both: the local people and tourists).

I have 3 good hotel suggestions in Termini, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

If you prefer B&B I have 2 good suggestions, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotels that I suggest in Trastevere

For those who prefer to “taste” authentic and characteristic Rome, there is nothing better than booking a hotel in Trastevere (on the outskirts of the city’s historic river), full of typical Roman history and traditions, known for the tortuous streets of sampietrini stones and the centers medieval style housing.

The neighborhood is in the historic center and to the right of the Tevere River, in the midst of a spectacular landscape, where each visitor can observe the countless churches and squares (such as Santa Maria in Trastevere). In addition, this neighborhood offers several local restaurants and canteens for those who want to try typical Roman cuisine.

If you want to save a great option is the B&B, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

If you prefer a good hotel, I have two options that I really like, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)


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Conclusion

Why visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome? What else to say except: come to Rome to admire one of the most beautiful basilicas in the capital, which, by itself, is already magical and the most beautiful in the world. And if you feel insecure, have no time, and need help to organize your trip, don’t hesitate to contact me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy come true. And how can I do that? Keep reading this post until the end and you will understand how we make your life and your trip much easier. 🙂

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