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Santa Maria Maggiore

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in Rome, Italy.

  • Photo of Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Photo of Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Photo of Santa Maria Maggiore
Photo of Santa Maria Maggiore
Photo by flickr user Gaspa
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For a short while in the Middle Ages this was the seat of the Pope, before the Papacy moved into the Vatican, but in any case this remains a basilica personal to the Pope - one of four in Rome. The building is monolithic inside - but, as with a number of other buildings in Rome, its uniqueness comes from its sheer antiquity - the present building dates from the time of Pope Sixtus III (mid-400s). The floor and walls are paved in ancient mosaics.

Massive marble columns uphold the nave - their age uncertain, but possibly older, tapering towards the top in Greek fashion. The coffered and gilded ceiling dates from the Renaissance. Along with St Peters, the Pantheon and St John Lateran, St Maria Maggiore is a foremost christian site of pilgrimage in modern Rome.

Written by  James Dunford Wood.

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