Christmas tours: Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore

From EUR €195.00
  • Duration: 2 Hours (approx.)
  • Location: Rome
  • Product code: Christmas0006

The patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the most ‘intact’ among the Roman patriarchal basilicas and a real treasure trove of priceless artistic masterpieces and medieval mosaics. 

In addition to one of the four Holy Doors, there is the holy relic of the manger, which was the first cradle of Jesus. Inside, there is preserved the first nativity scene made of statues. It was Pope Niccolo IV who commissioned it in 1288, made by Arnolfo di Cambio as a representation of the ‘Nativity’. 

The tradition of this sacred representation has the most ancient origins. In 432, Pope Sixtus III created in the primitive Basilica a ‘cave of the Nativity’, very similar to that of Bethlehem. The Basilica took the name of Santa Maria ad praesepem (from Latin: praesepium= manger).

We will also visit the interesting archaeological remains discovered under the imposing basilica relevant to a building of the Augustan age. Restored in the 4th century, the basilica consists of a series of rooms arranged around a porticoed courtyard. Of exceptional importance and the great agricultural calendar painted  which represented the agricultural works that correspond with the months of the year.