Friday, June 10, 2011

Santa Maria Maggiore

where: Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore
getting there: a short walk from the Termini train station
open: 7:00-19:00 daily
information: toilets are available on the outside of the church

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore was founded in the 4th century on the summit of the Esquilino Hill.
Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is one of the four papal basilicas in Rome along with San Giovanni in Laterano, Saint Peter's, and San Paolo Fuori le Mura.
The church was restored and enlarged by many popes over the centuries but the original structure inside was retained.
The church was again renovated in the 18th century, most of the interior decorations and the remodeling of the facade date from this time.
The church holds 5th century mosaics of the Old Testament and also the 13th century mosaics by friar Giuliano Torriti in the apse.
The church has one of the oldest icons of the Virgin and Child, (Salus Populi Romani), although suggested to have been painted by Saint Luke, it is known to be over one thousand years old.
The frescoes in the sacristy are by Passignano and Giuseppe Puglia.
The Pauline Chapel has a strict NO photography policy. The frescoes are by Guido Reni, Giuseppe Cesari and Giovanni Lanfranco.
The church interior decorations completed in 1580 are by a team of artists directed by Cesare Nebbia and Giovanni Guerra.

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for the metro, trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once validated start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki