One of Rome’s oldest religious buildings Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline hill, dates back to the 4th century.
The popular name of the basilica is Santa Maria delle Neve, meaning snow, derived from the legend that the basilica was built on the place where once a snowstorm miraculously occurred in August. Little has survived of the original patriarchal basilica, and what we see today is mostly the 18th century work of Fernando Fuga. The architect was a student of Francesco Borromini, a leading figure in Roman Baroque architecture. Santa Maria Maggiore is a place of beauty and awe, where Baroque meets the original form of early Christian architecture. The rich facade of the Basilica is definitely worth closer inspection. Be prepared to be absolutely enchanted with its broken lines, exquisite sculptures and the interaction of filled and empty spaces.
When you step inside, you will be surprised how stylistically different the interior of the basilica is. Its loggia is characteristic of the original early Christian architecture, where you can find splendid 5th century mosaics, retelling of the Old Testament, together with impressive rows of Ionic columns. Another curious feature of the interior is the basilica’s coffered ceiling, gilded with the first gold to arrive from Peru.
If only for a moment visit Santa Maria Maggiore and your aesthetic sense will be amply rewarded.
Santa Maria Maggiore
Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, 42, 00100 Roma RM
Places to Stay: