Rome, Italy
28 November 2015

The Piazza and Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is an ancient basilica located outside the territory of the Vatican City though it is fully owned by the Holy See. Considered as the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy, St. Mary Major was one of the first churches built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It is also one of the only four Catholic churches holding the title of “major basilica”. The other three are the Basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter’s, and St. Paul outside the Walls.

The museum of Santa Maria Maggiore contained numerous treasures and great works of art for visitors to have a unique experience. Among the several works of great masters are paintings like “The Ascente on the Calvary” by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi known as the Sodoma, “The Madonna with the Child, St. Antony of Padua, and St. Catherine of Siena” by Domenico Jacopo di Pace better known as Beccafumi. There are also three paintings of the history of the Icon Salus Populi Romani by circle of Baldassare Croce.

Another is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano) that is Christendom’s earliest church in the world. It was built under Pope Melchiade (311-314). Being seat of the bishop’s residence, Saint John in Lateran is also called Rome’s Cathedral. The ancient church was residence of the popes until 1377, when it was moved to the Vatican. It had then undergone several repair works and construction through the years.

St. John Lateran also contains artistic treasures from every historic period. It is a tribute to the important role the basilica has played in the history of Rome and of the Roman Catholic Church.

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