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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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73 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
$29.08
From
$29.08

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
$78.76
From
$78.76
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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
$119.96
From
$119.96
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
$260.52
Price varies by group size
From
$260.52
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

I Love Rome Hop On Hop Off Panoramic Tour

I Love Rome Hop On Hop Off Panoramic Tour

star-3.5
Explore Rome's museums, architecture and art with this hop-on, hop-off tour. Purchase a ticket and discover the city's charms at your leisure while riding on a cheerful pink double-decker bus. Don the provided headphones and enjoy recorded audio commentary in 13 languages for the 8 stops.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$16.96
From
$16.96
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Walking Food Tour of Rome with Tastings

Walking Food Tour of Rome with Tastings

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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
$103.00
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$103.00
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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
$426.00
per group
From
$426.00
per group
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
$199.94
From
$199.94
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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
$242.35
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$242.35
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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
$87.10
From
$87.10
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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
$82.05
Price varies by group size
From
$82.05
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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

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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
$98.45
From
$98.45

Four Papal Basilicas of Rome Half-Day Tour

Four Papal Basilicas of Rome Half-Day Tour

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Discover religious landmarks of Rome with this half-day, small-group tour. Explore four historic churches—The Basilica of St. Peter, the Basilica of St. Paul, the Basilica of St. Mary Major, and the Arch-Basilica of St. John Lateran—with a guide leading the way. Learn about the history, architecture, and relics of each basilica and travel between them by air-conditioned van.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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$154.14
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$154.14

Passion of Christ Private Walking Tour in Rome

Passion of Christ Private Walking Tour in Rome

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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
$119.91
From
$119.91

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
$77.55
From
$77.55
Taking safety measures

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
$169.64
Price varies by group size
From
$169.64
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
$36.35
From
$36.35
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
$165.61
From
$165.61

Rome in One Day: Colosseum and Catacombs Tour with Skip the line

Rome in One Day: Colosseum and Catacombs Tour with Skip the line

star-4
The magnificence of Rome’s archaeological sites is reflected in the large crowds and time-consuming lines that they attract. Save time and enhance your experience of the Colosseum and the Roman Catacombs on this full-day walking tour, which includes skip-the-line entry to both attractions and a Roman lunch. Contemplate the 2,000-year-old Colosseum, one of the New7Wonders of the World; tick off top Rome attractions on a walking tour; and descend to the subterranean cemeteries of the Roman Catacombs. Hotel pickup is included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$181.76
From
$181.76
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Basilicas of Rome

Private Tour: Basilicas of Rome

star-5
Go behind the scenes to discover the five major basilicas of Rome and learn about the influence of Christianity on the Eternal City during this in-depth private guided tour. Get a peek at priceless relics—believed to be thorns from Jesus’s crown—and marvel at Renaissance artworks and stunning architectural gems. Tours include free time for lunch and comfortable transfers in your own private vehicle—plus the option to explore the mysterious catacombs.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$321.87
Price varies by group size
From
$321.87
Price varies by group size
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
$60.59
From
$60.59
Taking safety measures

Flexible Skip-the-Line Colosseum Tour and Rome Hop on-Hop off open bus tickets

Flexible Skip-the-Line Colosseum Tour and Rome Hop on-Hop off open bus tickets

star-1
Take a guided tour of the Colosseum with skip-the-line privileges at a time that is convenient to your vacation schedule. With ticket in hand, show up whenever you wish (during opening hours) and you'll be slotted into the next tour, within 45 minutes of you arrival. This allows for flexible scheduling at your convenience. You'll also enjoy the addition of a hop-on, hop-off bus pass to explore further in Rome.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$100.57
From
$100.57

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
$58.07
From
$58.07

Private Tour: Holy Sites of Rome

Private Tour: Holy Sites of Rome

star-5
Visit the major religious history sites of Rome on this private day tour. Visit the Basilica of Rome, Basilica of Saint Praxedis, and the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major, and learn the hidden secrets behind these important sites from your guide. You'll also get the chance to cross the threshold of the Holy Door in the Cathedral of Rome. Round-trip transportation from central Rome hotels is included.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$353.42
Price varies by group size
From
$353.42
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

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Q:
What's the best way to experience Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)?