May
23
2009

THE MIRACLE OF THE SNOW AT SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE IN ROME

Our Blogger: Wanda

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The church of Santa Maria Maggiore, in the center of Rome, is an historical treasure and an usual stop in many visitors’ itinerary. But many people don’t know the curious history behind its foundation. The legend says that beetwen the 4th and the 5th of August of 352, Pope Liberio and Giovanni, a rich Roman gentleman, dreamed the Mother Mary asking them to build a church devoted to her on the Esquilino hill. The virgin also told them that in the place chosen to build the church it was going to snow, and as you might know, snow is extremely rare in Rome, even on the coldest seasons, let alone August, normally one of the hottest months of the Roman Summer. The following morning, anyway, Giovanni and the pope found snow at the summit of the Esquilino hill, and Giovanni, being a rich man, financed the construction of the church in the area covered with it.Masolino_Miracolo_Neve

The miracle of the snow, as the event is remembered, is celebrated still today on August 5th with the celebration of a solemn mass at Santa Maria Maggiore, and that day petals of white roses are thrown from one of the domes of the church, creating a beautiful effect that’s definitively worth seeing.

Actually The Pope is particularly devote to this basilica and because of it he always celebrates Maria’s dogma. In fact, Santa Maria Maggiore has been the first Roman church devoted to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the men.

There used to be painting on the altar depicting the assumption and the miracle of the snow. It was painted between 1428 and 1431 by Masolino da Panicale but it has been removed and it can now be admired in the National Gallery of Capodimonte in Naples.

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The best thing would be to come to Rome on the 5th of August when you can assist at the celebrations. But if you cannot arrange to be here on that date, anytime is perfect to visit Santa Maria Maggiore, only some minutes away from Hotel Des Artistes and Yes Hotel, where we’ll be more than happy to give you all the necessary information to visit this and many other famous atracttions in Rome.

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