Set atop a gently sloping hill in the Esquilino neighborhood, this basilica is one of Rome’s most important places of worship. Santa Maria Maggiore was originally built because the Virgin appeared one day in a vision saying a church should rise where the snow fell. Soon after, one August day in the 4th century, it miraculously snowed. Today, the church doesn’t exactly resemble the original design: Over the centuries it has been extended and parts have been remodeled, making it today a mish-mash of architectural styles. The colonnaded triple nave is part of the original 5th century church. The mosaic floor and gothic tomb of Cardinal Rodriguez were done in the Middle Ages. The Renaissance ushered in the church’s gilded coffered ceiling. And the façade was given the ornate treatment in the Baroque era. If you enjoy seeing the different architectural styles from multiple centuries, in one structure no less, stopping by the Santa Maria Maggiore should be on your list of top things to do in Rome.
- Open Hours: Monday to Sunday from 07:00 AM to 06:45 PM
- Nearest Train: Termini