1. Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica Guided Tour
Explore a Vatican territory without being in Vatican City. Discover a church where classical antiquity, Christianity and modernity meet. Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s four patriarchal basilicas, one of the most significant Catholic Churches in the world. As you arrive at Santa Maria Maggiore, you find yourself in front of a beautiful elaborate facade and a striking bell tower. Upon entry to the church, the expansive central nave stretches out in front of the viewer. Its ceiling was decorated with the first gold brought back to Europe from the New World. Dominating the front side of the nave is a triumphal arch covered with intricate mosaics arranged in four rows which depict scenes from Jesus’ childhood. Beneath the triumphal arch, is the high altar which is above a relic which contains five pieces of wood said to be from the manger in which Christ was laid in Bethlehem.