You will immediately be impressed with the interior of Santa Maria Maggiore. The array of forty columns, inlaid marble floor, plentiful 5th century mosaics and golden paneled ceiling are amazing. Look above your head as you walk inside. Notice the two papal coat of arms. This is not an ordinary church. It is designated as a papal major basilica, one of four of the highest-ranking Catholic churches in the world. Although Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is technically on Italian soil, it is within the jurisdiction of the Holy See as if part of the Vatican.