Santa Maria Maggiore
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About this spot
No Catholic church can be honored with the title of "basilica" unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom. Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the only four that hold the title of "major basilica". The other three are the Basilicas of San Giovanni in Laterano, San Pietro, and San Paolo Fuori le Mura. Along with all of the other four Major Basilicas, Santa Maria Maggiore is also styled a "Papal basilica" and as such it is often used by the pope. He presides over the rites for the annual Feast of the Assumption of Mary on 15 August there. Except for a few priests and the basilica's archpriest, the canopied high altar is reserved for use by the pope alone. Pope Francis visited the basilica on the day after his election. The church interior is beautiful, and should not be missed; sadly, it is strictly forbidden to use a tripod inside.
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