Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore Churches & cathedrals

Our most recommended Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore Churches & cathedrals

Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica Guided Tour

1. Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica Guided Tour

Join a walking tour of the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, located on Esquiline Hill. Discover the secrets of this impressive monument, one of the four papal basilicas in Rome. The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore was built on the site where the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream of pope Liberius. This is also where a blanket of snow appeared on the hill in the middle of summer. Find out how the locals commemorate this miracle every year with white flower petals. See the 14th-century bell tower, the highest bell tower in Rome standing tall at 75 meters. It is said that there are pieces of wood from Jesus' crib underneath the altar (Sacra Culla). Visit the patriarchal basilica, which contains the funerary monuments of Pope Clement IX, Paul V, and Nicolas IV. Discover a number of other famous Catholics who are buried here as well, including saint Jerome and the artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Rome: Half-Day Semiprivate Christian Tour

2. Rome: Half-Day Semiprivate Christian Tour

Discover Rome and explore the sites that have made this city the center of Christianity. Relive this ancient history walking through the impressive Papal Basilicas, places where history, faith and art blend together through the lives of popes, saints and artists. You can visit the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, with its beautiful medieval cloister, then move on to the first basilica in Rome, St. John Lateran, the place of the agreements between the political powers and the power of the church. Continue your journey in Catholicism at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the most important of the Roman churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with many mosaics and decorations. At the end, admire the elegance and the artistic and architectural majesty of St. Peter's Basilica and the masterpieces of Bernini and Michelangelo.

Rome: Catacombs of Rome and Main Basilicas Half-Day Tour

3. Rome: Catacombs of Rome and Main Basilicas Half-Day Tour

Begin your tour with visits to 2 important basilicas. Discover the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the oldest of Rome’s 4 main basilicas and home to the Holy Stairs, a pilgrimage site. Then head to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to see the amazing collection of historic and religious artefacts. Admire the mosaics and the Crypt of the Nativity. Continue along the historic Appian Way, passing the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis. Arrive at the ancient underground Catacombs of Rome. Explore these remarkable subterranean cemeteries, some dating back to the 2nd century. See historic artwork in the catacombs, and learn about how these underground passageways give insight into the early days of Christianity.

Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica Guided Tour

4. Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica Guided Tour

Explore a Vatican territory without being in Vatican City. Discover a church where classical antiquity, Christianity and modernity meet. Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s four patriarchal basilicas, one of the most significant Catholic Churches in the world. As you arrive at Santa Maria Maggiore, you find yourself in front of a beautiful elaborate facade and a striking bell tower. Upon entry to the church, the expansive central nave stretches out in front of the viewer. Its ceiling was decorated with the first gold brought back to Europe from the New World. Dominating the front side of the nave is a triumphal arch covered with intricate mosaics arranged in four rows which depict scenes from Jesus’ childhood. Beneath the triumphal arch, is the high altar which is above a relic which contains five pieces of wood said to be from the manger in which Christ was laid in Bethlehem.

Rome: Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore Tour

5. Rome: Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore Tour

Although enlarged and redecorated, the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore retains much of its original structure of the fifth century. In the years following the return of the papacy to Rome from Avignon, part of the church was used as a papal residence until the complete renovation of the Vatican palace. Admire its mosaics of the fifth century, a reliquary that is said to contain a piece of the crib that once held baby Jesus, an ancient icon of the Virgin Mary, and the tomb of St. Jerome and the tomb of the artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes all extraterritorial properties of the Holy See in Rome. See the Sistine Chapel in the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, dedicated to Pope Sixtus V.

Rome: The Hidden Gems of Santa Maria Maggiore (Guided Tour)

6. Rome: The Hidden Gems of Santa Maria Maggiore (Guided Tour)

Save time with a skip-the-line ticket on a guided tour of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Prassede Church. See Bernini's stairs, the Room of the Popes, the Liberian Museum, and much more on this sightseeing tour of two of Rome's significant religious sites. Arriving at Santa Maria Maggiore, find yourself in front of a beautiful elaborate facade and a striking bell tower. The expansive central nave stretches out with its ceiling decorated with the first gold brought back to Europe from the New World. Admire the high altar, a relic that contains wood from the manger in which Christ was laid in Bethlehem. Marvel at the elegance of the Loggia of Benedictions on the 2nd floor with its group of beautiful sculptures. At the center are Mary and Jesus flanked by popes. Explore Bernini’s spiral staircase, a first of its kind. This architectural and engineering feat is an inspiration to the world of art and a model often replicated around the world. Discover the Liturgical vestments of the Popes that are also exhibited in the museum. Check out the historic Liberian museum’s collection which includes precious objects of the Basilica, also called the “Bethlehem of the West”, such as holy relics, chalices, ostensories, and liturgical vestments. Explore the basilica of Santa Prassede Church, where faith is irrepressible. The basilica preserved the remains of more than 2000 martyrs, transferred from the catacombs of Priscilla. This is a magnificent place, sparkling with mosaics but even more so with the testimonies of holy martyrs.

Rome: Private Monti District Walking Tour

7. Rome: Private Monti District Walking Tour

The Monti district of Rome is today one of the most renowned districts of the city center. It was previously the poorest part of Rome, and was known as the ancient "Subura". It became an important religious center in the Middle Ages with the construction of many important churches, some of which were constantly renovated during the centuries. There you will find one of the four major churches of Rome, the Saint Mary Major. The Saint Mary Major features incredible mosaics and works of art from famous artists of the Renaissance and Baroque ages, including Michelangelo and Bernini. You will learn about the incredible mosaics of the 13th and 14th centuries, and will also admire the mysterious Moses by Michelangelo.

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What people are saying about Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 22 reviews

We recommend. Our small group 4 Germans and a German speaking family from France were looked after by an extremely courteous, competent and very, very nice guide. In addition to her very good language skills, she impressed with her in-depth knowledge and reproduced it in a lively form by the Italians. She also covered the lengthy journey to the catacombs due to adverse driving conditions and the resulting delays with interesting explanations of the relevant history. The booked time window could not be kept. However, the visits were not reduced. Everything, in the offer and booking, was visited and interpreted with the appropriate time.

Beautiful experience, the guide was very entertaining, you could tell he handled the subject very well, plain to answer any questions, kind, friendly and cordial.

Eric (our guide) did a great job describing the catacombs, their purpose and their history. I had been to this catacomb before and enjoyed visiting again!

Very informative tour. The guide was very knowledgable and took us to areas of the church that we wouldn’t normally be able to see. Well worth the money.

The experience of being on holy ground was breathtaking and having the tour given by a priest made the experience even better.