If you’re planning a trip to Rome and you’re a fan of art and architecture, you should definitely visit Saint Mary Maggiore. This is one of the four major basilicas in Rome and is a must-see for anyone interested in history or religious art. In this article, we’ll explore what to see in Saint Mary Maggiore in Rome.
The History of Saint Mary Maggiore
Saint Mary Maggiore, also known as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Italian, is one of the oldest churches in Rome. It was built in the 5th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to Pope Liberius and showed him where to build the church. The pope did as he was instructed and the church was built on the Esquiline Hill.
Over the centuries, the church has been renovated and expanded. It now features a mix of architectural styles, including Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic. The interior is filled with beautiful artwork, including frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures.
The Façade of Saint Mary Maggiore
One of the first things you’ll notice about Saint Mary Maggiore is the impressive façade. It was designed by Carlo Rainaldi and features a large portico with Corinthian columns. Above the portico is a beautiful frieze depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary.
The façade also features a bell tower, which was added in the 14th century. It’s one of the tallest bell towers in Rome and offers stunning views of the city.
The Interior of Saint Mary Maggiore
Once you enter the church, you’ll be struck by the beauty of the interior. The nave is lined with marble columns and the ceiling is decorated with gold leaf. The apse is particularly impressive, with a large mosaic depicting the Coronation of the Virgin Mary.
Another highlight of the interior is the Cappella Sistina, which was named after Pope Sixtus V. It features stunning frescoes by the artist Domenichino, depicting scenes from the life of Saint Jerome.
The Crypt of Saint Mary Maggiore
If you’re interested in history, you should definitely visit the Crypt of Saint Mary Maggiore. This is the oldest part of the church and is said to contain relics of the manger where Jesus was born. The crypt is also home to the tomb of Pope Sixtus V.
Saint Mary Maggiore is a beautiful and historic church that should be on your list of things to see in Rome. Whether you’re interested in art, architecture, or history, there’s something for everyone here. Be sure to take your time and explore all the different parts of the church, from the impressive façade to the beautiful interior and crypt. You won’t be disappointed!