Santa Maria Maggiore Church Tivoli

Saint Mary Major Church Tivoli
Church of Saint Mary Major

The Santa Maria Maggiore Church is also often called the San Francesco Church and, together with the Cathedral, is the most important church in Tivoli. It is located right next to the Villa d’Este entrance.

History and Description

Santa Maria Maggiore Church Tivoli - Bell tower
Bell tower

The Santa Maria Maggiore Church was built by Pope Simplicius in the late 5th century. The church was constructed on an ancient Roman villa, former residence of Gaio Sallustio Crispo. The church and its cloister were owned by the Benedictine Monastic Order of Farfa.

In the 12th century a major renovation took place, during which the church itself was also enlarged.

The Cosmatesque floor dates back to the 13th century.

In the 15th century the side arches were closed and replaced by semi-circular windows. The central entrance received a Gothic portal with a tabernacle created by the sculptor Angelo da Tivoli. A rose window can be seen above the portal.

The red brick bell tower is very similar to the one of the San Lorenzo Cathedral.

Santa Maria Maggiore Tivoli (bell tower)
Bell tower

What to see

The church consists of three naves. There are a number of chapels along the left nave.

The “Madonna delle Grazie'” painted by Jacopo Torriti in the 13th century near the main altar.

The Tomb of Ippolito II d’Este, which can be viewed in the presbytery.

A 15th century crucifix.

Other beautiful paintings are the “Preaching Virgin”, the “Sant’Antonio da Padova” and the “Madonna and Child”. This last work is located in a Renaissance tabernacle.


Every year on August 14, the Festa dell’Inchinata takes place in the square in front of the church. The image of the Savior and the statue of the Madonna delle Grazie are placed opposite each other and bent towards each other.

Address, opening hours and entrance fee

Address: Piazza Trento – 00019 Tivoli (tel. +39 ). Opening hours: . Entrance fee: Free of charge.

Santa Maria Maggiore Church, Tivoli

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