Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

#6 of 520 in Historic Sites in Rome
World heritage site · Religious Site · Historic Site
Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, a World Heritage site crowning the top of the Esquiline Hill, features fifth-century mosaics that are some of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary. This ancient church is renowned for all its ancient mosaics, which are particularly impressive when the floodlights are turned on. The depictions of the site's triumphal arch and the nave served as models for many other representations of the Virgin Mary created during subsequent centuries. The building contains a 14th-century bell tower, the highest in the city. The site's 16th-century coffered ceiling is said to be gilded with Incan gold that Christopher Columbus initially brought for his patrons, Spain's joint rulers Ferdinand and Isabella. The church also includes a museum that details the history of the site and features several notable works of art. Using our international travel planner, Rome attractions like Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
Create an itinerary including Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
16,080 reviews
  • We found the security to be I'll mannered, loud and not fitting to be in a religious place. They seemed irritated at everyone and everything.  more »
  • The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)—among the first churches in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary—sits on the summit of Esquiline Hill. An...  more »
  • Oh my God! it's a great moment for us to see this amazing place. I think we past by at least 20 times and decided to enter the church. We're amazed at the details, the history and art. If in Rome a most see place and it free to enter however, don't forget to donate. Don't be discouraged by my photos my children takes better photos on their cameras.
  • Gorgeous and enormous. One of those things that makes you stop in awe. Regardless of religion, the architecture and art contained within are gorgeous, never mind the services and singing. It’s also free - so easily worth a stop in to sit, meditate and rest while you listen to the choirs or organs.

Plan your trip to Rome

  • Compose it!
    Your own itinerary for your car vacation, beach vacation, city trip, any near or distant journey ... ready within 10 minutes.
  • Customize it.
    Refine your plan. We find the best routes and opportunities.
  • Book it.
    Choose from the best accommodations (Expedia, AirBnB), airlines and activities, by yourself or share with travel professionals for the utmost experience. Up to 50% discount!
  • Do it yourself.
    Or share your plan with travel professionals for a customized trip