Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

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  • eugini2001's Profile Photo

    My favorite church

    by eugini2001 Written Sep 29, 2009

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    Of all the great Roman Basilicas,Santa Maria has the most successful blend of different architectural styles.Its colonated tripple nave is part of original 5th century building.The Cosmatesque marble floor and delightful Romanesque bell tower,with the blue ceramic roundels are medieval.The Renaisance saw a new coffered ceiling,and the Baroque gave the church twin domes and its imposing fron and rear facades.The mosaics are Santa Maria's most famous feature.From the 5th century cme the biblical scenes in the nave and the spectacular mosaics on the triumphal arch.Medieval highlights include a 13th century enthroned Christ in he loggia.Coronation of the Virgin Mosaic is the central image of a series of wonderful apse mosaics of the Virgin by Jacopo Torriti (1295).The giled ceiling ,possible by Giuliano da sangallo.was a gift of Alexander VI Borgia at the end of the 15th century.The gold is said to be the first brought from America by Columbus. The columns of red porphyry and bronze were the woirk of Ferdinando Fuga. in front of the church there is an ancient marble column of the Virgin and Child,a bronze was added in 1615 and column itself came from the basilica of Constantine in the Forum. On the back side of the church there is Egiptian Obelisk that was erected by Pope Sixtus V in 1587 as a landmark for polgrims.
    There are priests available if you wish to confess.I just fell in love with this church ,very magnificant and beautifull, peacefull at the same time as most of pilgrimage sites.Maybe that's way it has it's own legend of snow. In 356 Pope liberius had a dream in which the virgin told him to build a church on the spot where he found snow.When it fell on Esquiline,on the morning of august 5 in the middle of the baking Roman summer,he naturally obeyed.The miracle of the snow is commemorated each year by a service during which thousands of white petals float down from the ceiling of Santa Maria.It used to be roses ,but now it's dahilias.

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  • vichatherly's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by vichatherly Updated Jun 18, 2009

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    Santa Maria Maggiore
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    This church looks spectacular from whicjever side you approach it. The pictures is takien from The Piazza dell'Esquilino with the apse area of Santa Maria Maggiore showing.

    The name of the church reflects two ideas of greatness ("major"), that of a major (or papal) basilica and that of the largest (major) church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

    It is well worth a visit inside this church epecially for the the Borghese Chapel.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    A Church Born from the Snows

    by von.otter Updated Apr 26, 2009

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    S.Maria Maggiore, Front Fa��ade Detail, Roma, 05/07
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    “I went out to-day, and, going along the Via Felice and the Via delle Quattro Fontane, came unawares to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. I entered it, without in the least knowing what church it was, and found myself in a broad and noble nave, both very simple and very grand. There was a long row of Ionic columns of marble, twenty or thereabouts on each side, supporting a flat roof. There were vaulted side-aisles, and, at the farther end, a bronze canopy over the high altar; and all along the length of the side-aisles were shrines with pictures, sculpture, and burning lamps; the whole church, too, was lined with marble: the roof was gilded; and yet the general effect of severe and noble simplicity triumphed over all the ornament.”
    — from the 1858 “French and Italian Note-Books” of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

    Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Mary Major, is one of the four Patriarchal Basilicas in Rome. Although the church has been improved over the centuries, its basic structure has remained unchanged. For example, the church building dates from AD 431; but its magnificent Baroque façade (see photo #1), the work of Ferdinand Fuga, was completed in 1741.

    The church’s origins were revealed in a dream. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Pope Liberius in a dream in AD 358; the Roman Patrician Giovanni had the same dream. In these nocturnal revelations Mary instructed that the Pope should build and Giovanni should pay for the new basilica; its location was also revealed. Extraordinary weather for the 5th of August, AD 358, snow covered Rome’s Esquiline Hill. In this snow, the Pope traced the outlined of the basilica. Each 5th of August at a special mass celebrating the dream of Pope Liberius white rose petals fall from the ceiling to carpet the church’s floor.

    The church’s name combines two ideas of greatness (major), that of a papal (major) basilica and that of the largest (major) church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother.

    The Marian Column (see photo #3) in Piazza de Santa Maria Maggiore was erected in 1614; Carlo Maderno designed the column, which celebrates the icon of the Virgin Mary found in the Pauline chapel of the Basilica. The icon is known as Salus Populi Romani, or Health of the Roman People, because a miracle attributed to it helped keep Plague from the city. Marian columns were put up in Catholic countries in the 17th century giving thanks for secession of the Plague. Tradition teaches us that the icon was painted from life by St. Luke the Evangelist. And published material at the Basilica, offers radiocarbon dating evidence that fixes the age of the icon at 2,000 years, thus reinforcing its sacred tradition. The column itself came from Constantine’s Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine in the Roman Forum.

    The ceiling (see photo #4) is coffered and was designed by Giuliano Sangallo but the work was completed by his brother, Antonio. The ceiling’s gilding was an offering from the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, to the Spanish Borgia pope, Alexander VI. This was some of the first gold brought from the New World.

    The Crypt of the Nativity, also known as the Bethlehem Crypt, is underneath the sanctuary of Santa Maria Maggiore. This is the final resting place for the genius of the Baroque Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Each year at Christmas time relics of the Nativity crib are displayed at Santa Maria Maggiore.

    At the rear of the Basilica is a square with a 49-foot-tall obelisk (see photo #2) from the Mausoleum of Augustus.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by MM212 Updated Apr 11, 2009

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    Mosaics in the loggia of the fa��ade
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    One of Rome's greatest churches, Santa Maria Maggiore, traces its origins to the 4th century AD. It was commissioned by Pope Liberius, supposedly after seeing snow on the Esquiline Hill in the month of August, and was built on the same spot where the snow had been found. In 440 AD, Pope Sixtus III replaced the original church with the existing structure, which has been expanded and modified repeatedly over time. These successive additions over the centuries have turned Santa Maria Maggiore into an amazing mix of architectural styles: Roman, Byzantine, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque. The interior of the church has conserved many of the original features, including some mosaics and the colonnaded nave, though the Ionic columns themselves are thought to have been reused from earlier Roman temples. The astonishing mosaics in the apse and the beautiful marble floor are medieval, as is the Romanesque bell tower. The elaborate Baroque façades and domes were added in the 18th century, but the incredible mosaics covering the ceiling in the upper loggia of the front façade are in fact from the 13th century.

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Feb 14, 2009

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    Some of the photos here were taken from our hotel window - a view of Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore I never tired of. Early morning was my favourite time, the piazza slowly coming to life as early morning prayers called people to the church, workers hurried to their daily routine and the first tourists of the day drifted across the cobblestones.

    Early morning was the best time to visit the great basilica too, its vast space empty of all but a few visitors. Here on the crown of the Esquiline Hill, the biggest and most populous area of Imperial Rome, the huge church we see today has a history that dates back to the middle of the fourth century. The most important of all the churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the first church here was built by Pope Liberius after a vision of the Virgin appeared to him. A century later that church was replaced with an altogether grander basilica that has been enlarged and become increasingly more magnificent in the succeeding centuries. Despite all that, the church retains the essential form of an Imperial basilica, an effect enhanced by the 36 marble columns supporting the nave that pre-date the church itself.

    Amongst its many treasures, great expanses of glorious mosaics really are the crown jewels. The suggestion of bringing binoculars in one guide book isn't so silly - the finest - original 5th century work over the triumphal arch and along the nave - are very high up and very detailed. The depiction of the Coronation of the Virgin in the apse is much later 12th century work. In photo 3 you can see some of the 13th century mosaics that adorned the basilica's facade until the loggia was added in the 18th century.

    The column in the piazza was erected in 1614 to give thanks for survival from the plague - the first of many such columns to be erected across Europe but the only one that once graced Constantine's basilica in the Roman Forum.

    The Pope comes to the Basilica each year to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin, a day of great pomp and colour. Imagine the view you would have of that day from our hotel room

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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by stevemt Updated Sep 4, 2008

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    Facade
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    Well within walking distance from Termni, this church is a lovely place to visit.

    It has a mid 18th century facarde with an off centre bell tower.

    The ceiling is wonderful as are many of the mosaics.

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  • Henrik_rrb's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by Henrik_rrb Written Dec 21, 2007

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    Santa Maria Maggiore by night.
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    The legend says that the Pope Liberius in 356 had a dream where Maria told him to build a church where he found snow. On the fifth of August, on one of the hottest summer days in Italy, the snow fell over the Esquilinen, and the Pope built Santa Maria Maggiore on the top of the hill.

    The church is still today very beautiful, and one of my absolute favourites in Rome. Specially in the evening it looks fanastic, with lamps lighting up the building. And as I normally stays in a hotel close to the Termini station I get to see the Santa Maria Maggiore very often in the night on my way home from bars. :)
    There are good things with everything!

    The golden roof is from the 1400s, and is a gift from the Pope Alexander VI Borgia. It's believed to be the first gold that was taken from USA by Christofer Columbo.

    Also the backside of the Church, with is huge steps, are really beautiful! It looks like a front side,and it actually took me quite a few trips to Rome before I realised the entrance was actually on the other side...

    Open daily 7am-7pm

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  • adema29's Profile Photo

    Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

    by adema29 Updated Sep 16, 2007

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    Inside Santa Maria Maggiore

    Our hotel in Rome was located near Santa Maria Maggiore, so we left its visit for the last of our stay. We're glad we did not skip it and we could see its beauty!
    The story of this Basilica begins from August 352 AD, when snow miraculously felt on the Esquiline Hill; Pope Liberius traced the perimeter of the church called initially Santa Maria della Neve. The present church was completely rebuilt by Sixtus III (432-440); then, in the 12th century Eugene III had a portico built for the facade and later at the end of the 13th century Nicholas IV promoted the renovation of the apse. In the 18th century Clement XII demolished the old portico and added a new facade.
    It is said that the rich decoration of the ceiling was made with the first gold that came from America, donated to the basilica by the kings of Spain.

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  • moacha's Profile Photo

    Have a lot of coins in a town walk

    by moacha Updated Jul 27, 2007

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    Rome is a city with many churches.
    When I walk, I see the churches in Rome all over.
    Although I am not Christian, even if it is not a famous church, if possible, I entered in it and have offered the prayer.
    I am allowed to relieve my tiredness which walked with the prayer.
    The price of a candle in most of churches is 0.5 euro. Since candle is not one piece at one church, you will have many coins,if you are the Christian, or are intreste in, when you walk.
    This is Santa Maria Maggiore.
    The facade and an apse are beautiful in this cathedral.
    The inside which left the classic basilica style is filled to "harmony and solemnness."

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (2)

    by Redang Written Feb 17, 2007

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    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Rome, Italy)
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    Also known as the Basilica di Santa Maria della Neve or Basilica Liberiana (Saint Mary Major Basilica or the Liberian Basilica), is one of the four major basilicas.

    Four major basilicas:
    - San Giovanni
    - Santa Maria Maggiore
    - San Paolo
    - San Pietro

    Address:
    Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore

    Metro: Termini (lines A and B) or Cavour (line B).

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (1)

    by Redang Updated Feb 17, 2007

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    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Rome, Italy)
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    Also known as the Basilica di Santa Maria della Neve or Basilica Liberiana (Saint Mary Major Basilica or the Liberian Basilica), is one of the four major basilicas.

    Four major basilicas:
    - San Giovanni
    - Santa Maria Maggiore
    - San Paolo
    - San Pietro

    Address:
    Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore

    Metro: Termini (lines A and B) or Cavour (line B).

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  • Taffster's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by Taffster Written Nov 16, 2006

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    As the sun is setting...
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    This is a stunning, large church located at the square of the same name.

    Possibly my favourite church in Rome, not least marked for its grandeur.

    Particulary convenient to visit if you are staying at the Hotel Verona (see my hotel tips) as it's on the next street!

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  • Marpessa's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by Marpessa Updated Aug 22, 2006

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    The front of the basilica
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    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore dates back from the time of Pope Sixtus III (432-440). (Although the first church founded here was in c. 350 by Pope Liberius - but was more a 'church' rather than the basilica you see today). This is an impressive church. The church has a bell tower that chimes every hour and ever quarter hour. There are some really good mosaics and a beautiful gilded ceiling. There are also monuments to former Popes and Costanzo Partizi (although I am not certain who Costanzo Patrizi actually was) inside the basilica.

    If you get the time, take a trip to this church. I remember I had a nice time sitting out the front in the cool shade of this church and watching people walking around the piazza. I also remember looking down a side street and seeing a couple of guys playing trumpets and dancing in the street.

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    basilica santa maria maggiore

    by doug48 Updated Jul 26, 2006

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    basilica santa maria maggiore

    commissioned by pope sixtus III, the basilica santa maria maggiore is one of rome's most beautiful cathedrals. this 5th century building has been renovated over the years incorporating, medieval, romanesque, renaissance, and baroque design. some must see sites in the basilica are the cappella paolina, the baldacchino, the coronation of the virgin mosaic, the tomb of cardinal rodriguez and the tomb of pope sistus V. open daily.

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  • illumina's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Maggiore

    by illumina Written May 19, 2006

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    According to legend, in August of AD 352, a wealthy childless couple received a vision of the Virgin Mary who told them to build a church in her honour where they found snow in Rome. Pope Liberius witnessed a snowfall on the summit of the Esquiline hill and built the basilica to commemorate the miracle. The outline of the church was apparently physically laid out on the ground by the miraculous snowfall. The legend is reenacted every year on August the fifth with a fall of white rose petals from a hole in the dome during the festal Mass.

    Pope Sixtus III had it restored, or more likely rebuilt, to commemorate the declaration of St Mary's Divine Motherhood by the Council of Ephesus in 432. The 18th century baroque facade gives the visitor no indication of the true antiquity of the building, but the mosaic behind the façade is from the 14th century while in the Nave are the oldest Christian mosaics in a church in Rome, dating as they do from c. 432-440.

    The link I've given is a wonderful interactive panorama of the whole church, but visiting it in person is quite different - when we went it was very dark and mysterious! This makes it rather difficult to see the ancient mosaics, but gives a great sense of atmosphere.

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