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Santa Maria Maggiore Tickets

RomeSanta Maria Maggiore Basilica

Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica | First church in honor of the Virgin Mary

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, or the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, is one of the four major basilicas in Rome, Italy. Home to the tallest campanile in Rome and gorgeous 5th century mosaics, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a treasure trove of history and culture. 

Things to know before booking your tickets to Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica

  • Free entry: You can enter the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica free of charge. However, for guided tours and skip-the-line entry tickets, you will have to pay a certain amount. For additional information on this, please refer to your ticket. 
  • Guided tours: To learn about the history, religious significance, and architecture of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, opt for guided tours of the attraction. 
  • Accessibility: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is fully accessible for visitors with reduced mobility. For additional accessibility information, please refer to your ticket. 

Why visit Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica?

  • One of the four major basilicas in Rome: As one of the four major basilicas in Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore holds great religious significance. Pilgrims and visitors come to the basilica to pay homage to the Virgin Mary, and the church's history is tied to various religious events and miracles. 
  • Steeped in legend and miracles: According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to both the Pope and a Roman patrician named John. She instructed them to build a church at the site where snow would fall the following day, despite it being the height of summer. The next day, August 5th, snow fell on Esquiline Hill, and the basilica was built to honor this miraculous event.
  • Papal connection: Although located in Italy, the basilica enjoys extraterritoriality, meaning it's considered Vatican territory for legal and diplomatic purposes. Popes, particularly Pope Francis, frequently visit Santa Maria Maggiore. Francis even stated that his tomb is "already prepared" there.
  • Panoramic views of Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is situated on the Esquiline Hill and offers panoramic views of the city. Its central location makes it convenient for visitors to include it in their itinerary as well.

Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica Highlights

Bell Tower
Mosaics of the Triumphal Arch
Chapel of the Nativity
Papal Altar
Crypt of the Nativity

Overlooking the basilica, the Bell Tower of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica stands almost 75 meters, making it the tallest bell tower in Rome. With its Romanesque design and elegant proportions, the Bell Tower provides some of the most stunning views of the Rome skyline. 

The triumphal arch is located above the main altar of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. The stunning mosaics on the arch depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments, including the Coronation of the Virgin Mary and other instances from the life of Christ. 

The Chapel of the Nativity within Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is particularly noteworthy. It features frescoes depicting the birth of Jesus and adds to the overall artistic and religious experience of the visit. 

Located just beneath the main altar at Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, the ornate Papal Altar is decorated beautifully. The Papal Altar is of great significance at the basilica, since it is presided over by the Pope during special religious ceremonies. 

Located beneath the main nave, the Crypt of the Nativity is an altar that is believed to contain five fragments of the original Bethlehem manger of Jesus Christ. Owing to this, Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is one of the seven pilgrimage sites of Rome. 

Plan your visit to Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica

Timings
Location
Facilities
Tips
Eat
Stay

7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Last entry: 6:30 PM. 

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is early in the morning, just after it has opened. During this time crowds are less and you easily and comfortably explore the basilica and marvel at its beautiful frescoes and mosaics. 

Address: P.za di Santa Maria Maggiore, 00100 Roma RM, Italy.

 Find on maps

  • By bus: 16, 70, 71, 75, 117, 360, 590, 649, 714, F20
    Nearest stop: S. Maria Maggiore
  • By subway: A, B, B1
    Nearest stop: Termini
  • By train: Trenitalia
    Nearest stop: Roma Termini
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Washrooms
  • Information desk
  • Gift shop

  • Arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds and comfortably explore Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. 
  • On August 5th every year, white flower petals are dropped from the ceiling of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. This event commemorates the day when snow, during the height of summers in Rome, miraculously fell on Esquiline Hill. 
  • Conversely, if you’re in the vicinity at night, catch a glimpse of the basilica’s beautiful illumination. If you’re lucky, hear the choir sing too!
  • The Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is a place of worship, so dress modestly. Ensure your shoulders and knees are covered when you visit the basilica. 
  • Plan your visit to Santa Maria Maggiore on August 5th, so that you can be a part of the ceremony where white flower petals are dropped from the ceiling of the basilica to commemorate the miraculous event that led to the creation of the basilica. 
  • There are special designated areas exclusively meant for prayers  and reflection. These areas are clearly marked inside the basilica, so be mindful of these areas, and ensure that you do not disturb the visitors here. 
  • The Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is centrally located, so plan to visit nearby attractions as well. 
  • Look beyond the obvious highlights like the mosaics and Sistine Chapel. Pay attention to details like the Cosmati floor in the nave, the tomb of Bernini, and the exquisite marble reliefs depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.
  • Photography is permitted inside Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, but flash photography and tripods are not allowed inside the basilica. 

  • Ristorante Alessio: Situated 1 km from the basilica, Ristorante Alessio serves traditional Italian cuisine, including pizza, pasta, and seafood. The outdoor seating area is pleasant for dining al fresco.
  • La Carbonara: If you're a fan of the classic Roman pasta dish, carbonara, this restaurant is a good choice. Located 1.5 km from the basilica,  La Carbonara specializes in various pasta dishes.
  • Ai Tre Scalini: This is a popular wine bar and restaurant in the Monti district, that is only 1.3 km from Santa Maria Maggiore. Ai tre Scalini offers a selection of wines, craft beers, and a menu featuring Roman and Italian specialties.
  • Il Bocconcino: 2.5 km  from the basilica, Il Bocconcino is known for its pizza, pasta, and seafood dishes. It's a casual restaurant with a warm ambiance.

Beyond Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica

Colosseum

Located 1.9 km from Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, the Colosseum is one of the most famous attractions in Rome and beyond; it is the world’s largest standing amphitheater. 

Roman Forum

Located 1.3 km from Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, the Roman Forum is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of Rome. It was the focal point of public life in ancient Rome and served as a marketplace, ceremonial center, and social and political hub.

Trevi Fountain

 Located 2.6 km from Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, Trevi Fountain is arguably the most famous fountain in Rome. Don’t forget to toss a coin into the fountain and make a wish when you visit the attraction. 

Frequently asked questions about Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica tickets

How much is a ticket to Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica?

A ticket for Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica will cost you €19.

How to book tickets to Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica?

You can purchase tickets for Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica online or purchase them directly at the attraction. The best way to book your tickets is online, since it helps save time and money.

Why should I book Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica tickets online?
  • Convenience: With a simple tap of your fingers, you can book online tickets for the attraction from wherever you are. You can also choose the time and day that works best for you when booking tickets online. 
  • Guided tours: You can opt for a guided tour of the attraction when booking online. This option may not be available if you purchase your tickets offline.
  • Cancellation policy: You can cancel online tickets for a full refund. 
  • Skip-the-line access: Certain online tickets provide skip-the-line access to popular attractions. Skip-the-line may not be available for offline purchase.
What do Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica tickets include?

Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica tickets include access to the basilica. You can also upgrade your standard ticket to include an English-speaking guide, entrance to Loggia of Benedictions, escorted entrance to the basilica, and skip-the-line access to the Santa Prassede Church. 

Can I get skip-the-line tickets for Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica?

You can upgrade your standard tickets for Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica to include skip-the-line access to the Santa Prassede Church. 

How do I access the Loggia of Benedictions and the Santa Prassede Church?

You can upgrade your ticket for Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica to include entry access to the Loggia of Benedictions and priority access to Santa Prassede Church. 

What is the cancellation policy for Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica?

You can cancel your Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica tickets 24 hours before the experience begins for a full refund. 

How long does it take to complete a Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica tour?

It can take you around 1 to 2 hours to complete a tour of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica.