Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome to make its Loggia, Crypt and Treasury accessible to Visitors

The papal Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome has changed its visit schedule. From Saturday, June 21, and on five following Saturdays the church doors will be open in the evenings in order to provide a special access to its loggia, crypt and treasury, reports, citing Vatican Radio.

A tour which lasts an hour and a half must be pre-booked. For 18 Euros you can admire the loggia’s mosaic décor, which has survived since the 13th century, see the statue of an angel by the Italian sculptor Pietro Bracci (the 18th century), the papal hall (early 17th century), the baroque stairs by the Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The tour continues in the crypt below the church and goes through the basilica’s Sistine Chapel, where the crypt of the sculptor and architect Arnolfo di Campio is located. 

Situated on the Esquiline Hill of Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore is one of four papal basilicas of the city and the only one which has retained its early Christian architecture. The first church on this site was built in the second half of the 4th century under the Pope Liberius. New additions to it were made up to the mid-18th century.

Situated on the right side, the Sistine Chapel was erected by order of the Pope Sixtus V by the architect Domenico Fontana. The chapel is notable for the wealth of its décor. The Popes Sixtus V and Pius V are buried here. The statue of kneeling Sixtus V as a monument was made by the sculptor Giovanni Paracca.

The Popes Clement VIII and Paul V, the architect Lorenzo Bernini, and one of Napoleon’s sisters Pauline Bonaparte are buried in the basilica as well.