Mosaics of the apse semi-dome, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Latin: Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris), or church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy. The key aspect that made Santa Maria Maggiore such a significant cornerstone in church building during the early 5th century were the beautiful mosaics found on the triumphal arch and nave. The Athenian marble columns supporting the nave are even older, and either come from the first basilica, or from another antique Roman building; thirty-six are marble and four granite, pared down, or shortened to make them identical by Ferdinando Fuga, who provided them with identical gilt-bronze capitals. The mosaics found in Santa Maria Maggiore are not just incredibly beautiful works of Late Antique art; they are also one of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary in Christian Late Antiquity.