Free Friday: Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Rome has four Papal Basilicas, namely, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Basilica di Santa Maggiore, Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, and Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Papal Basilicas are the highest ranking Roman Catholic Church buildings. Santa Maria Maggiore holds this title, and it is also the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome.Visitors come to see Rome’s best surviving mosaics from the 5th century. But hubby and I did not know this before we went. Our purpose was simply to see the largest Marian Church in Rome. Therefore, we have no pictures of the mosaics, regretfully.The basilica’s Nativity Crypt located under the high altar has a reliquary said to contain a piece of the Holy Crib of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.If one has €5 to spare, there is a tour that includes the loge, Pope room, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s staircase. I loved this tour. We were able to see up close 13th century mosaics, ceremonial vestments, one of the few ancient copies allegedly of a letter by Saint Peter, and Bernini’s baroque helical staircase which until today fascinates architects because it does not have a supporting middle rail, instead it is supported by its travertine spirals and their weight against the wall.As an added treat, I got to view the Piazza below from the balcony.


About Dee Gilbert

I am one half of a couple who loves to travel; the half who likes to write and share travel experiences. Reading about travelers' experiences inspire me more to see the world. So, I thought, perhaps in my own little way I could inspire others, too. :)
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2 Responses to Free Friday: Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

  1. ralietravels says:

    Your excellent post brought back memories of our own visit [before I learned not to try to write about an entire city in one post] and I went back to look at my own notes. We saw the mosaics but didn’t take their picture either. I also noted the basilica was the seat of a number of Popes prior to building St. Peter’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dee Gilbert says:

      Oh, yes! I forgot about that bit of the basilica as the seat of a number of Popes. I should have remembered as our guide emphasized it numerous times. Thank you for reading my posts and commenting. I really appreciate it. Have a marvelous weekend!


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