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Located on the highest peak of Rome, it is the only basilica that retains its original structure intact

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Santa Maria Maggiore

One of the four great ancient basilicas in Rome

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore stands at the top of Esquilino Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome. Legend has it that its location was a whim of the Virgin herself. It is said that in the middle of the IV century, Pope Liberius had a dream where the Virgin Mary asked him to build a temple in her honour and told him that she would send a sign to tell him where to build it. When the Pope woke, he opened the curtains and saw Esquilino Hill completely covered in snow. Liberius considered this to be the sign. At the top of this hill the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, nicknamed the Basilica Santa Maria della Neve (St. Mary of the Snow). was built. It was converted into one of the four papal basilicas when the Avignon treaty was finalised. This means that it is one of the places where the Pope moves his residence, according to the time of year, In fact, on 5th August each year, the day known as the Day of the Snow is commemorated. The Pope gives a multitudinous mass for the faithful from the basilica balconies.



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