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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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76 Tours and Activities to Experience Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)

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Churches of Rome - 3 hours tour with private cab

Churches of Rome - 3 hours tour with private cab

Visit the four Papal Basilicas in Rome. They are the four most important churches in the city and in Christianity. We will meet in your hotel where our driver will pick up you. Being major basilicas, they have a holy door and a papal altar: the holy doors are opened with a special rite by the Pope or his representative only for the duration of a Holy Year. You will visit the most beatiful, impressive and important churches in Rome. Saint John whit Holy Staircase, Saint Peter in Vatican City with his majestic art inside, Saint Mary Major with its beautiful mosaics and Saint Paul with the wonderful cloister and the archaeological area.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$216.22
Price varies by group size
From
$216.22
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

7 churches in Rome

7 churches in Rome

The Giro delle Sette Chiese is a walking pilgrimage previously practiced but formalized and revitalized by San Filippo Neri. In its original form it consists of a ring route of about 20 km which touches the main churches of Rome at the time when the saint lived, the first four are the Major Papal Basilicas:
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  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$35.81
From
$35.81

Roman Basilicas, Catacombs and Villa D'Este (Tivoli) Private Tour

Roman Basilicas, Catacombs and Villa D'Este (Tivoli) Private Tour

As the home of the Pope and the Catholic Curia, as well as the locus of many sites and relics of worship, Christian martyrs, Rome had long been a destination for pilgrims. The Via Francigena was an ancient pilgrim route between England and Rome. Peter and Paul. For many visitors to Rome. Explore the incredible tunnels that were dug out by hand nearly 2,000 years ago and learn about the very beginning of Christianity. Masterpiece of the Italian Gardens, Villa D'Este is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$722.23
Price varies by group size
From
$722.23
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Papal Basilicas - Private Tour

Papal Basilicas - Private Tour

Visit the four major basilicas in rome. Your chauffeur will meet you at your your hotel and then you will enjoy the most beautiful, impressive and important churches in Rome
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$129.52
Price varies by group size
From
$129.52
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Tour of Rome and Italy. Luxury minivan with driver

Tour of Rome and Italy. Luxury minivan with driver

star-5
With over 10 years of professional experience in car rental with driver in Rome and throughout Italy, Irmalimousines is committed to providing a first class, safe and reliable passenger transport service. Our experienced drivers, with our high-end vehicles and comfort, are able to make any kind of trip unforgettable.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$663.21
per group
From
$663.21
per group

Villa D'Este (Tivoli) and Roman Basilicas Private Tour

Villa D'Este (Tivoli) and Roman Basilicas Private Tour

Rome, the heart of Christianity, the seat of the Catholic Church, the place where history, faith, and art combine in a unique synthesis of majesty and beauty. The millennia of history of this city lives within each monument: basilicas, churches, catacombs. A journey through Christian Rome, Italy. and the Catholic curia, as well as the locus of many sites and relics of worship, Christian martyrs, Rome had long been a destination for pilgrims. Masterpiece of the Italian Gardens, Villa D'Este is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$537.20
Price varies by group size
From
$537.20
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Rome Underground Private Tour: Appian Way, Catacombs and Roman Basilicas

Rome Underground Private Tour: Appian Way, Catacombs and Roman Basilicas

Following the footsteps of St. Peter to the district, home to the warm spirit, and the famous wealthy and famous families in Rome, the Appian Way, known as the Queen of Roads. It is dated 312 BC and was also flanked by mausoleums and the unmissable Christian Catacombs. Persecution of many Christian martyrs under pagan Emperors, whose bones, once buried underground, became objects of veneration.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$376.04
Price varies by group size
From
$376.04
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour and Return Transfer from Civitavecchia Port

Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour and Return Transfer from Civitavecchia Port

star-3.5
Making a trip to Rome from the Civitavecchia Port is easy with this hop-on hop-off bus tour, including round-trip transfer. Take a shuttle from the port to the city, and explore the areas you want to. With eight stops throughout Rome, hop off and hop back on where you choose. See popular places, such as the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo. Plus, your bus has free Wi-Fi onboard, so you can keep up with your own itinerary.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$77.59
From
$77.59
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
$196.97
From
$196.97
Taking safety measures

Double Decker Bus 24/48 or 72h | Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour | Fast Track

Double Decker Bus 24/48 or 72h | Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour | Fast Track

Have a limited stay in Rome? See more in less time—and sightsee according to your own schedule—when you book a hop-on hop-off bus tour, available for windows of 24 or 48 hours. Additionally, your itinerary also includes a walking tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill; pick from two different daily departure times, meet your guide, and, with skip-the-line access, get ready to explore.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$57.21
From
$57.21

Hop-on Hop-off open Bus 24/48hr & Vatican Museum Sistine Chapel Tour| Fast Track

Hop-on Hop-off open Bus 24/48hr & Vatican Museum Sistine Chapel Tour| Fast Track

star-5
Explore Rome at your own pace with a 24- or 48-hour hop-on, hop-off bus pass. From the top of the open-air double-decker bus, take in panoramic views of the city missed by most visitors as you enjoy recorded commentary. No need to queue: Breeze past notoriously long lines at the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum, where you enjoy a 3-hour guided tour in one of 6 languages offered.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.99
From
$96.99

Rome Hop-on Hop-off open bus Tour: 24/48/72h Bus|Ticket Public Papal Audience

Rome Hop-on Hop-off open bus Tour: 24/48/72h Bus|Ticket Public Papal Audience

Explore the Eternal City with ease and at your own pace with a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass. Choose a 24-, 48-, or 72-hour ticket, then climb aboard. With 10 stops at convenient locations throughout the city, this unlimited access pass is the perfect way to efficiently and affordably visit Rome’s top attractions. Your ticket also enables you to attend the Papal Audience held each Wednesday.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$31.10
From
$31.10

Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Pudenziana & Santa Prassede Private Church Tour

Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Pudenziana & Santa Prassede Private Church Tour

Explore the hidden treasures of Rome on this 2-hour private tour with your personal guide to see 3 of the most beautiful churches in the Eternal City: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, Santa Prassede and Santa Pudenziana. Meet your guide at Santa Maria Maggiore, a papal basilica and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the well-preserved mosaics from the Roman era, the chapels of Pope Sixtus V and Pope Paul V, paintings by the great Raphael and Michelangelo, relics from the medieval era, and many more historic pieces. Next head to Santa Prassede where you can see more breathtaking mosaics and artworks including what is a segment of the pillar where Jesus was flogged. To end, visit Santa Pudenziana, a 4th century church believed to be the oldest Christian temple in Rome. It's home to the oldest mosaic apse in the city and it represents Christ surrounded by his Apostles. Learn about historical Christian art and architecture together with your knowledgeable, local guide on this unique tour!
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$225.62
Price varies by group size
From
$225.62
Price varies by group size

Papal Basilicas: St. John Lateran, Saint Mary Major, St. Paul outside the walls

Papal Basilicas: St. John Lateran, Saint Mary Major, St. Paul outside the walls

On this tour you will explore three of the most important Basilicas in the world, after St. Peter's: St. John Lateran, St.Mary Major and St. Paul Outside the Walls. Built in the 4th century by the emperor Constantine, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest church in the western world. A former seat of the papacy, and the current seat of the Archdiocese of Rome, St. John Latera is Rome's Cathedral. Its many treasures include the original doors of the Roman Curia or senate house. Nearby are the Scala Sancta ( Holy Stairs ) believed to be the very steps on which Chist stood trial before Pontius Pilate. St. Mary Major is one the oldest churches dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and is known for its mosaics featuring scenes from the life of Mary. It also houses the relic of Christ's manger. Last but not least, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is the second largest Basilica after St. Peter's Basilica. It was founded on the burial ground of St. Paul.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$292.47
Price varies by group size
From
$292.47
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Rome Walking Tour Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore Area

Private Rome Walking Tour Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore Area

Take our guided tour of some of the most beautiful places in Rome from a historical, religious and artistic point of view. Following our walking tour you will discover many curiosities out of the usual known explanations.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$179.07
per group
From
$179.07
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Rome Walking Tour Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria degli Angeli

Private Rome Walking Tour Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria degli Angeli

Take our guided tour of some of the most beautiful places in Rome from a historical, religious and artistic point of view. Following our walking tour you will discover many curiosities out of the usual known explanations.
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  • 1 to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$46.43
From
$46.43
Taking safety measures

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from Rome

Christian Rome Four Major Basilicas Lunch Included Fullday from Rome

We are immensely pleased to lead to you to visit the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome. Included one Papal Blessing on Parchment in English. • Saint John Lateran • The Holy Stairs • Saint Mary Major • Saint Paul Outside the Walls • St. Peter’s Basilica (if and when open) • One Christian Catacomb (Skip-The-Line tickets included) Lunch included in a typical Roman Restaurant. Upgradable with Official Licensed Expert Tour Guide (in Private option) Pickup and dropoff will be at your accommodation in Rome. Private or Shared Tour available options. Worry-Free and Safe Private Tour Experience, operated only with: • Expert Professional English-Speaking Drivers • Selected local Expert Licensed Tour Guides (when booked) • Welcoming by private licensed fully-insured air-conditioned comfortable Vehicles
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$465.57
Price varies by group size
From
$465.57
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Rome Sightseing Tour

Rome Sightseing Tour

We have been offering detailed tours for years, always performed with the utmost respect for travelers and also for the city.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$198.97
Price varies by group size
From
$198.97
Price varies by group size

The Sacred Rome

The Sacred Rome

As the official seat of the Catholic Church for over 2,000 years, Rome is home to stunning churches featuring with a unique blend of art, faith and history. This tour will show you some of Rome’s most important sacred sites, including the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore at the top of the Esquiline Hill, that is considered to be Rome’s largest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which was the place where all popes used to be enthroned up until 1870. A tour of sacred Rome wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the 2nd-century Catacombs of San Callisto. Located along the Appian Way, one of the original seven roads leading into Rome, this was the burial site of thousands of Christians, martyrs and even popes, which earned them the nickname of “Little Vatican”.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$651.80
Price varies by group size
From
$651.80
Price varies by group size

Hop-On Hop-Off Rome Sightseeing Tour

Hop-On Hop-Off Rome Sightseeing Tour

Take an Rome hop-on hop-off tour by open-top bus, 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.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.62
From
$34.62
Taking safety measures

Open Bus Tour in Rome with Interactive Game Kit for Children

Open Bus Tour in Rome with Interactive Game Kit for Children

star-5
A city tour from a different perspective, that of the roof of an Open Bus. For the little ones an interactive game consisting of a map on which to attach funny stickers once the questions and games related to the route have been resolved. Audio guide on board, assistance from highly qualified personnel.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.07
From
$25.07
Taking safety measures

Open Bus Tour with Theater Show and Aperitif in Rome

Open Bus Tour with Theater Show and Aperitif in Rome

The itinerant theater on board the open buses is a unique and rare opportunity to discover the great beauty of Rome at sunset. Theatrical entertainment, specially designed for guests on board, is a magical moment, made up of monologues, songs, sketches and hilarious jokes. Rome is the most beautiful stage an actor can ever dream of, Rome is the most beautiful theater in the world. Be spectators of this wonder. A welcome drink will be served
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$29.84
From
$29.84
Taking safety measures

Private Tour with guide & Luxury Car: Holy Churches of Rome

Private Tour with guide & Luxury Car: Holy Churches of Rome

On our Holy Church of Rome tour, your personal chauffeur & expert theologian will escort you in a premium luxury vehicle to 3 out of the 4 Papal Basilicas, as well as the Basilica of Santa Croce. These four churches are on the “must see” list if you’re visiting Rome! The Basilica of Mary Major, also known as Our Lady of Snows, is home to the crib of the baby Jesus, is the largest Church to Mary in Rome. Afterwards you will get to see St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome which has the seat of the bishop of Rome, and St. Paul’s outside the Walls. In the Basilica of the Holy Cross, you will see many relics of the Passion of Christ, including pieces of the crown of thorns and the actual cross of Jesus. It is a truly holy and reverent experience with one of our top theologians to accompany you on this tour!
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$346.19
Price varies by group size
From
$346.19
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

All Access, Private Tour: Holy Churches of Rome with English speaking guide

All Access, Private Tour: Holy Churches of Rome with English speaking guide

Peter and Paul, two apostles of Christ, brought the message of Jesus to Rome, thereby making Rome the epicenter of the Christian faith. The writings and teachings of the apostles left an indelible mark on Roman history, inspiring Pontiffs and Emperors alike to build the finest churches in the Christian world. On this tour, our expert theologian will guide you through 4 of the 7 Pilgrim Churches of Rome.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$207.72
Price varies by group size
From
$207.72
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures