Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Nave Ceiling
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Built on the site of a miraculous August snowfall, this major basilica dates from the early 5th century. The huge church is lined with Byzantine mosaics and contains many important relics.

Go Historic ID
318253
Short URL
gohist.co/318253
Names
Santa Maria Maggiore
Address
Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore
Rome, Italy
Coordinates
41.897574° N, 12.498464° E
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 11, 2015

Timeline

August 4, 358
Miraculous Snowfall in Rome

According to a 13th-century legend, the Virgin Mary appears to Pope Liberius and the patrician Giovanni Patrizio in Rome, instructing them to build a church on the Esquiline Hill. That night, the floor plan is outlined by a miraculous snowfall. The church is named Santa Maria della Neve (St. Mary of the Snow) and later Santa Maria Liberiana after Pope Liberius...

430
Construction begins on Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome

On the summit of the Esquiline Hill in Rome, construction of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica begins on the site of a former temple to Cybele.

440
Completion of Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is completed under Pope Sixtus III (432-40). It is one of the first churches in the world to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

1290
Apse mosaic created by Jacopo Torriti at Santa Maria Maggiore

Under Pope Nicholas IV (1288-94), Jacopo Torriti creates the apse mosaic of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome. The mosaic centers on the Coronation of the Virgin and includes Nicholas IV, Cardinal Jacopo Colonna, Saint Francis of Assisi, and other contemporary figures.

1300
Facade mosaics added to Santa Maria Maggiore

Mosaics are created for the facade of Santa Maria Maggiore by Filippo Rusuti and his assistants.

1585
Fontana creates Sistine Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore

Domenico Fontana creates the sumptuous Sistine Chapel for Pope Sixtus V in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

1611
Ponzio creates the Borghese Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore

Flaminio Ponzio designs the Borghese Chapel for Pope Paul V in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

1743
Fuga creates Baroque facade of Santa Maria Maggiore

Ferdinando Fuga creates the present Baroque facade of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

1377
Creation of brick campanile of Santa Maria Maggiore

The elegant brick campanile of Santa Maria Maggiore is given its present form.

April 16, 2008
July 16, 2006
November 11, 2010

Resources

  1. Blue Guide Rome, 10th ed.
  2. The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome: A Comprehensive Guide Includes details on all mosaics.