Santa Maria Maggiore


Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore,


Originally built in the fifth century, Santa Maria Maggiore contains one of the best preserved Byzantine interiors in Rome. Along the tall, wide nave, fifth-century mosaics feature some of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary in existence. Points of interest also include the coffered ceiling gilded with Incan gold, the tombstone of artist Bernini, and the 246-foot Romanesque bell tower. The Crypt of the Nativity contains a piece of the Holy Crib, while the Borghese Chapel houses the famous icon of Mary and Jesus entitled Salus Populi Romani, which according to tradition was painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist.