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Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore) Tours

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)
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 extraterritorial property of the Vatican, it is one of the city’s four major basilicas and has one of the best preserved Byzantine interiors in Rome.

The Basics
Expanded and reworked over the centuries, the original nucleus of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore dates from the mid-fifth century. Tour inside to see fifth-century mosaics depicting Old Testament scenes, a reliquary said to contain a piece of baby Jesus' crib, an ancient icon of the Virgin Mary, and the tombs of Saint Jerome and artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Don't miss the Sistine Chapel in Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, named for Pope Sixtus V.

The basilica's location near Rome’s main Termini train station makes it easy to pair a visit with other top sights in Rome by joining a scooter, Segway, e-bike, or hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • You must wear modest attire covering your knees and shoulders to enter the church.
  • Photography without flash is allowed inside the church.
  • The basilica is not accessible to wheelchairs and strollers due to a flight of stairs at the entrance.
  • A visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is a must for those interested in early Christian art and architecture.

How to Get There
The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is located on the square of the same name; it's an easy walk from the Termini train station, which is also a bus and metro hub.

When to Get There
If you want to visit Rome without the crowds, come October through April, although prepare for chilly weather. Visit in May or September for warmer weather without the crowds that flock June through August.

Snow … in August?
According to legend, plans for the church—also known as Madonna della Neve (Our Lady of the Snow)—were drawn by Pope Liberius in the snow that miraculously fell on this hilltop on Aug. 5 in the fourth century. Every year on that date, the miracle of the snow is commemorated with a cascade of white petals falling from the ceiling onto the altar, one of the most evocative religious events in Rome.
Address: Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, 42, Rome, Province of Rome 00100, Italy
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75 Tours and Activities to Experience Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)

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Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

star-3.5
Take a Rome hop-on hop-off tour by open-top bus, and spend time city sightseeing as you travel past attractions such as the Colosseum and Vatican City. Relax aboard the double-decker Rome tour bus, listen to the audio commentary and hop on and off at any of the stops. Select a sightseeing ticket that’s valid for 24 or 48 hours, or pick an upgrade option to include entry to the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Roman Forum and more.
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  • 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$28.76
From
$28.76

Passion of Christ Walking Tour in Rome

Passion of Christ Walking Tour in Rome

star-5
View items related to the passion and death of Jesus Christ during this 3-hour tour in Rome. Visit the Basilica of St Mary Major to see fragments of the wood from the manger where Jesus was born and explore San Prassede, which features pieces of the pillar upon which Christ was flogged. At the Basilica of Santa Croce, see fragments of the true cross and a nail of the crucifixion. Along the tour, learn about the history of these sacred religious objects from your guide. All entrance fees are included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$81.13
Price varies by group size
From
$81.13
Price varies by group size

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore Tour

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore Tour

star-5
One of Rome’s four major basilicas, Santa Maria Maggiore was among the first churches in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Enjoy an in-depth look at this premier cultural and religious site on this guided tour that takes in its fifth-century mosaics, relic of Christ’s crib, and ancient icon of the Virgin Mary. Learn about its art and architecture while admiring the tombs of greats like St. Jerome and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$76.69
From
$76.69
Taking safety measures

Secret Rome Basilicas and hidden Underground Catacombs Tour

Secret Rome Basilicas and hidden Underground Catacombs Tour

star-4.5
Take a journey through the history of Catholicism in Rome on this tour to two of Rome's four papal major basilicas and the Catacombs of Rome. See the sacred sites and holy relics of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and then descend underground to explore the subterranean tombs of the Catacombs.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$59.91
From
$59.91
Taking safety measures

Churches of Rome Private Tour: Maria Maggiore, Santa Pudenziana, Santa Prassede

Churches of Rome Private Tour: Maria Maggiore, Santa Pudenziana, Santa Prassede

star-5
Visit one of Rome's most important churches, plus two lesser-known basilicas, on this 2-hour walking tour. With a guide, you'll start at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, a papal basilica and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then continue to nearby Santa Pudenziana and the Basilica di Santa Prassede. During your tour, enjoy the chance to see historical art and architecture, and learn about the history of the churches, which dates as far back as the 4th century.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$119.82
Price varies by group size
From
$119.82
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Christian Rome Afternoon Tour

Christian Rome Afternoon Tour

star-3.5
Explore the highlights of early Christian Rome with this exciting 3-hour afternoon walking tour via foot and coach.  Led by a knowledgeable driver-guide, get an insider's view of the Eternal City and its Christian history. Stops include the Basilica of Sant Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. And then go underground by checking out the intriguing catacombs, an early Christian burial spot just outside of the city at the Appian Way.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.70
From
$70.70
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Christian Rome

Private Tour: Christian Rome

star-5
Step into the early days of Christian history on a private, 6-hour tour of Rome’s holy sites, and experience the city where Constantine, St. Peter and St. Paul lived and preached. Discover the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of St. John Lateran and Pontius Pilate's steps, an important pilgrimage site. See millennia-old relics treasured by saints and Popes, then head to the below-ground Catacombs for a tour of the tunnels where generations of Christian martyrs were buried and remembered.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$421.25
per group
From
$421.25
per group
Taking safety measures

Rome Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus and Colosseum Tour | Skip-the-line tickets

Rome Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus and Colosseum Tour | Skip-the-line tickets

star-4
Combine the convenience of a guided tour with the flexibility of independent travel on a 24- or 48-hour hop-on hop-off bus tour of Rome. Along the way, enjoy a skip-the-line tour of the Colosseum and four optional walking tours, taking in sights such as Castel Sant’Angelo, Capitoline Hill, St. Peter Basilica, the Spanish steps, and the Pantheon.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$86.13
From
$86.13
Taking safety measures

Full Day Vatican Museums and Underground Tour in Rome

Full Day Vatican Museums and Underground Tour in Rome

star-3.5
Discover Rome’s history on a full-day tour to Vatican City and the catacombs. Begin at the Vatican with a skip-the-line ticket to visit the museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica where you can find works of art by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and more. Then head underground to explore the ancient Roman catacombs and other Christian landmarks such as the Cathedral of Rome and the Holy Staircase.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$197.71
From
$197.71
Taking safety measures

Walking Palates Food Tour of Rome

Walking Palates Food Tour of Rome

star-5
Food lovers will love this walking tour of Rome with a food ambassador guide. You’ll be taken to the Monti neighborhood, a traditional area with some exciting restaurants representing food from around the country, as well as good nightlife. You’ll learn all about the city through its cuisine. Sample some of the best food in the Italian capital, plus wine to wash it down.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$106.10
From
$106.10
Taking safety measures

Passion of Christ Private Walking Tour in Rome

Passion of Christ Private Walking Tour in Rome

star-5
Early Christian history enthusiasts will enjoy this tour of relics from the life of Christ. Visits include the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to view wood believed to be from Jesus’ manger; Santa Prassede, home to a fragment of the pillar on which Christ is said to have been flogged; and the Basilica of Santa Croce, containing what may be pieces of the cross and a nail from the Crucifixion. You can also walk up the Holy Stairs Jesus once descended.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$118.58
From
$118.58

THE BIG FOUR: Itinerary Dedicated to the Papal Basilicas of Rome

THE BIG FOUR: Itinerary Dedicated to the Papal Basilicas of Rome

Rome is the world capital of Christianity and since the 5th-century 4 basilicas have been recognized as the major Papal ones of the city. Generations of pilgrims experienced the feeling of walking on the footsteps of the Saints who made the history of Christian religion, such as the first Pope, Saint Peter or the great Apostle of Gentiles Saint Paul. The importance of these sites is not only religious, but dued to the beauty and the historical significance. Kings, emperors and great women during the centuries have inked their names with the four Papal basilicas of Rome. During THE BIG FOUR TOUR, your group will have the opportunity to visit the papal basilicas inside with a professional and licensed guide and admire the milestones of architecture and Christian religious art.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$359.47
Price varies by group size
From
$359.47
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Rome on a Golf Cart, Small Group Tour with Private Option

Rome on a Golf Cart, Small Group Tour with Private Option

star-5
Hop on a golf cart for a comprehensive tour of Rome in a short amount of time. You'll stay out from behind glass bus windows, but also off your feet; this is a great option for those who have trouble walking long distances. Combine the blockbuster sites with some hidden gems and listen to your guide's commentary on Rome's history, culture, and modern life. A small group of just six people means you'll enjoy personal attention and the chance to ask questions.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$111.09
Price varies by group size
From
$111.09
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Between Holy Doors

Between Holy Doors

star-5
What exactly can you expect from this tour? Immerse yourself in the Rome of the Popes, where stories, wonders, legends and reality blur and harmonize with today's Rome. You will be guided by one of our local, certified tour guides. What makes our guides special is their passion for Rome and they want to share it with you. Highlights of the tour: On this tour, you will experience "Santa Maria Maggiore", which contains one of the four Holy Doors. Then we will reveal the hidden basilica "Santa Prasede" and its secrets. Followed by "San Pietro in Vincoli" where you will see the statue of Moses by Michelangelo and the miraculous chains of St. Peter. Then we will visit two of the oldest churches in the city: "Santi Quattro Coronati" with the legend of Pope Sylvester "San Clemente", dedicated to the fourth Pope "Clemens I" The tour culminates in a visit to the arch-basilica of "San Giovanni in Laterano", which contains another of the four Holy Doors.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$35.95
From
$35.95
Taking safety measures

Historic Neighbourhoods: Jewish Quarter & Trastevere Private Tour

Historic Neighbourhoods: Jewish Quarter & Trastevere Private Tour

star-5
Join a licensed guide and discover the history of two Roman districts, Trastevere and the Jewish Quarter. From ancient fountains to timeworn landmarks, visit the areas’ must-see spots and hear plenty of historical insights along the way. Explore the heart of Rome’s Jewish district while your host tells you stories about the local lifestyle, traditions and historical events. As you wander through the streets you can almost feel the history radiating off the walls, so soak up the atmosphere as you listen to your guide. Rome’s Jewish district is one of its most beautiful, the streets are just full of stunning buildings. Follow your licensed guide to the Turtle Fountain, one of the quarter’s most symbolic landmarks and the subject of many local legends. From here walk to the Isola Tiberina, Rome’s urban island. Take in the river views and get ready to discover bohemian and funky Trastevere. Visit a beautiful medieval church and discover breathtaking mosaics.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.04
Price varies by group size
From
$109.04
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Tour - Christian Rome: The four Papal Basilicas (hotel pick up/drop off)

Private Tour - Christian Rome: The four Papal Basilicas (hotel pick up/drop off)

Visit the four Papal Basilicas in Rome in a private experience. They are the four most important churches in Rome and the Christianity.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$120.45
Price varies by group size
From
$120.45
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private tour in Roma 40 euro /hour/van Mercedes V class max 7 pers

Private tour in Roma 40 euro /hour/van Mercedes V class max 7 pers

star-5
19 years old expierience in private tours in Roma,Tuscany (Montalcino,Castello Banfi ,Assisi)and Amalfi coast (Positano,Sorrento,Capri island)
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$239.65
per group
From
$239.65
per group

Private Santa Maria Maggiore & Roman Basilicas Tour

Private Santa Maria Maggiore & Roman Basilicas Tour

Step back in time and explore one of Rome’s oldest residential neighbourhoods filled with colourful houses, cobblestone lanes and a bucket load of bohemian soul & most importantly - beautiful basilicas of Rome. This area is home to some beautiful basilicas and on this tour you will visit three of them. Admire the stunning mosaic work and take in the spiritual vibes. Explore the must-see Santa Maria Maggiore. Marvel at the beautiful decoration and spot multiple architectural styles. A treat for art-lovers and history-buffs alike! So what are you waiting for? Visit one of Rome’s most iconic neighbourhoods and see its awe-inspiring mosaics with a friendly local! Want to personalize your tour or adjust the route to satisfy your craving for alternative fashion or delicious street food? Feel free to contact your new local friend and make your stay in the Eternal City one that you’ll remember forever.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$87.47
Price varies by group size
From
$87.47
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from Rome

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from Rome

Visit several of the most venerated Catholic sites in Rome, accompanied by a private driver and guide. Trace the history of Roman Christianity as you visit ancient catacombs, churches, sacred stairs, and more, including a stop inside the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church. Enjoy the comfort of private transportation in a Mercedes, and commemorate your time in Vatican City with a papal blessing on parchment paper.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$257.62
Price varies by group size
From
$257.62
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Discover the famous seven hills of Rome with the calessino bee

Discover the famous seven hills of Rome with the calessino bee

star-5
The ape calessino tour allows you to visit most of the city comfortably seated on a vintage vehicle, in perfect Made in Italy style. The tour is on a private basis. Most of our drivers are also licensed tour guides. It is suitable for everyone, from 6 years of age.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$163.76
From
$163.76

Rome by Vespa Sidecar with Cappuccino

Rome by Vespa Sidecar with Cappuccino

star-5
Skip the crowded coach tours and discover the highlights of the Eternal City from a Vespa sidecar. Each motorcycle and sidecar fits two people (plus driver), so you can settle back with a friend or loved one as you cruise by attractions from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain. Tours include live narration via convenient headphones for crucial context on each site, plus a traditional Roman breakfast of cappuccino and cornetto.
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  • 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$118.63
From
$118.63
Taking safety measures

The Four Major Papal Basilicas of Rome (8hrs) with a private Guide

The Four Major Papal Basilicas of Rome (8hrs) with a private Guide

A private tour to discover the secrets of the four most important Basilicas of Rome and of the Christian world. The largest churches built immediately after the legalization of Christianity wanted by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century after Christ. From the Basilica of San Pietro you will continue your tour inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni and San Paolo. The ancient medieval decorations perfectly blended with the Renaissance and Baroque ones, which over the centuries have transformed the Christian buildings, will accompany you on an unforgettable journey through the visions of world famous artists such as Michelangelo and Bernini.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,123.35
per group
From
$1,123.35
per group

Christian Rome Tour Semi-Private

Christian Rome Tour Semi-Private

star-4.5
Explore the sacred Christian sites of Rome with a small-group tour, including the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, and more. Skip the hassle of finding all these sights on your own and hear fun facts and stories about Rome’s early Christian history as you travel from site to site with a guide.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$167.75
Price varies by group size
From
$167.75
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Cristian Catacombs & Basilicas Small groups

Cristian Catacombs & Basilicas Small groups

Explore the Christian Catacombs & the Basilicas This tour starts with a visit to two of the Four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Mary Major, the most important and best preserved of the Roman Churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with its fifth-century mosaics; and St. John’s in Lateran, Cathedral of Rome and first Papal residence. After a stop at the Holy Stairs, we proceed to the ancient Appian Way, probably the most important of the Roman roads, until we reach the Catacombs of Rome, the ancient underground cemeteries and extraordinary expression of faith to the earliest Christians.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$107.84
From
$107.84
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)?