The Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore (The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major) is an ancient Roman Catholic Marian basilica of Roma.
Legend has it that the Virgin appeared to Pope Liberius and the patrician Giovanni Patrizio on August 4, 352 (or 358), instructing them to build a church on the Esquiline Hill. That night, the floor plan was outlined by a miraculous snowfall.
Archaeological evidence, on the other hand, indicates that the church was probably first built in the early 400s and completed under Pope Sixtus III (432-440). Santa Maria Maggiore is the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its original structure, left intact despite several additional construction projects and damage from the earthquake of 1348.