Sunday, February 16, 2014

Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is an amazing architectural blend of bits dating back as far as the 400s.

The outer facade was added in the 1740s. The column in the piazza was taken from the Basilica of Constantine in the Forum and a bronze statue of the Madonna and Child was added in 1615.

Santa Maria Maggiore

Piazza in the morning light

The columns of the nave are part of the original fifth century building. The Cosmatesque floor patterns are from the early 1200s, while the ceiling was gilded with gold brought from America by Columbus in the late 1490s.


Gilded ceiling

The apse mosaic of the Coronation of the Virgin is quite spectacular and dates from the late 1200s. We visited on a Sunday, so some parts of the church were a little difficult to photograph, though they all looked gorgeous.

A bit of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary

The main altar with its baldacchino comes from the mid-1700s and is luminious.

Main altar ready for the Sunday Mass

Side view of the altar

The church has a nice variety of statues and monuments.

Madonna and Child

Statues, paintings, and more of the ceiling!

The back of the church includes a rather large baptismal font that glowed with beauty.

Baptismal font

Font detail

When we left, we noticed a funny sign on the steps of the church.

Hmm, it's not like the steps look that comfortable to begin with...

The building of the original church is credited to a miracle. In August 356, the Virgin Mary appeared to Pope Liberius and asked him to build a church where he saw snow falling. On 5 August that year, he saw snow falling on the Esquiline Hill. He immediately began the church. The legend is celebrated every August 5th with white petals floating down from the ceiling of the church.

No comments:

Post a Comment