Basilica Santa Maria And St Valentines Skull

Basilica Santa Maria And St Valentine's


All You Need To Know About The Basilica Santa Maria And St Valentine’s Skull

Rome, Italy offers a vast range of historic sites from its natural heritage to striking architecture dating back to the Roman empire. Its impressive design and rich history encourage extended trips to explore all that the location has to offer. Popular attractions include Basilica Santa Maria and St Valentine’s Skull with a multitude of sites that should not be missed when in Rome.

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica Santa Maria is the largest Catholic church that was constructed in the capital and completed by 1743. It proudly stands as a historical monument in Rome and was dedicated to the virgin Mary viewed as a protector of the people of Rome. It is believed the build of the church had been initiated around 356 by the Pope Liberio, but evidence of its construction reveals an order provided by Sisto III in 431 under the Council Efeso.

A legend reported after 1000 AD has it that the church was developed according to the vision and beliefs of a patrician John and his wife. They had made the decision to dedicate all of their belongings to the Virgin Mary as they had no heirs. The couple had prayed for some time to determine how they should dispose of their possessions including a vision of the Virgin Mary that appeared on a hill one snowy evening where they decided to build the Basilica.

This led to the nickname of Saint Mary or Lady of the Snows, however there is no historic evidence to support the legend. The layout of the church consists of 40 columns constructed in beautiful marble and granite While the characteristic pyramid shape and belltower are believed to date as far back as the 1300s. It was only in the 1500s that the chapels were built making it one of the longest church constructions that have been known to man.


It was n the early 1740s that the Pope Benedict XIV had proposed to remove the legend from the roll; however, this only came into effect in the 1960s. It was required that the church be restored to its original title, but even today, people continue to commemorate this legend by dropping white petals from the dome during Mass celebrations. The Liberian Basilica is the formal name that was provided to the church that has become part of its historical context.

Basilica Dimensions

This extensive building spans across a length of 92 meters or 302 ft with a height of 75 meters or 246 ft. This point has been recognized as the tallest in Rome, Italy and stands as a beautiful independent feature that has become a sound part of Roman history and architecture. It includes a bell tower, pyramid structures and chapels that have been adorned by thousands of travelers owing to the expanse and unique construction of these additions.

In 1600 the architect Carlo Rainaldi produced the Apsidal Chapel that is largely viewed today while the left and right facade had been finished by Ferdinando Fuga by 1750. Fuga had become the head architect at this stage completing internal repairs to the Basilica while maintaining the 3 aisles, monolithic columns and Christian construction. The entrance includes the Cross Chapel and representations of a religious nature.

The remarkable vision and creativity of the artists involved in the final development have contributed to the architectural masterpiece that stands today. Entry to the Basilica is free and is open through the year ensuring that you get to visit the historical site. When traveling to Rome, take the time to visit the church and view one of the most spectacular structures ever built.


St Valentine’s Skull

All are familiar with the romance and celebrations surrounding Valentine’s day, but the history behind this occasion is somewhat different to the traditional love story. It was during the third century on February 14th that a man referred to as St. Valentine was martyred and whose skull is said to be inside the Santa Basilica in Rome. The skull located in a glass case includes an inscription across the forehead and is said to belong to the man described as the patron of lovers.

The man who was persecuted is believed to be a Roman priest who provided aid for the martyrs that were persecuted at the time. When Valentine was held captive by the Roman emperor and refused to denounce his faith, he was beaten and beheaded on February the 14th. The Santa Maria houses the skull located at the alter on the left of the church.

A vacation to Rome should include a visit to the Santa Maria to view the history and the tale behind St. Valentine. It offers a closer look at all the city can offer and the background behind many of its famous buildings. There are many different sightseeing opportunities that not only improve your general knowledge of the location and architecture but also provides the chance to view history up close and personal.

Sightseeing when in Rome

A trip to Rome requires careful planning to ensure you have the time to visit some of the most iconic buildings and sights that are still standing after centuries. The Pantheon is over 2000 years old, but in pristine condition while the surrounding monuments offer historical and religious significance. The Castel Saint Angelo has been transformed into a museum including the Emperor’s Mausoleum and many of the prison cells that were used during this time.

Popular locations include the Spanish Steps where most tourists relax and enjoy the beautiful weather while the St Sebastian Catacombs possess some of the earliest burial sites open to the public for viewing. The state is most commonly associated with beautiful and masterfully crafted architecture from pillars of marble and granite to artistic portrayals of predominantly Christian figures. There are many different places to visit that will make your stay all the more worthwhile.


Rome offers a wide range of unique legends and exceptional styles of architecture that simply cannot be viewed elsewhere. Churches and monuments that remain standing today after years of environmental exposure and change provide a sense of the masterful techniques and exquisite design that many artists of that time applied. It provides a deeper understanding of why these buildings became so popular and remain tourists attractions today.

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