santamariamaggiore- santamariamaggiore-

Interior of the Basilica

Saint Mary Major is the only paleochristian Basilica to have kept its original appearance intact. The colonnade in cipollino marble comes from ancient warehouses and pagan buildings of worship that were demolished in the Christian era. The mosaics in the central nave and the triumphal arch date back to the Pontificate of Sixtus III (432- 440). The ones in the apsis were commissioned to Jacopo Torriti by Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292). The central nave has a cosmatesque floor and a ceiling coffered in gilded wood, designed by Giuliano and Antonio da Sangallo. Among the Basilica’s treasures of inestimable value are the Relic of the Holy Crib, the venerable icon Salus Populi Romani, numerous chapels, among them the Pauline Chapel, the Sistine Chapel, the Sforza Chapel, the Cesi Chapel, the Chapel of the Crucifix, the Chapel dedicated to Saint Michael and the Nativity Scene by Arnolfo di Cambio. Each column, painting and sculpture, each single tile is imbued with historical significance and spirituality.