Piazza San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro: Bernini's Masterpiece
Piazza San Pietro is one of the most famous squares in the world, placed in the center of Christendom. The Basilica of Saint Peter, located in the square with the same name, is a pilgrimage site for the faithful from the entire world, as well as a place to visit for lovers of Renaissance and Baroque art.
Piazza San Pietro: Description
In the center of Rome and Vatican City, Piazza San Pietro is perhaps the most famous square in the world. Planned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, Saint Peter’s Square is one of the world’s masterpieces of Baroque art. A magnificent colonnade (four rows of 284 columns, 88 pillars, and 140 statues of saints) surrounds the square and determines its unique shape. The central colonnade brings the spectator to the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica, while the lateral columns symbolize the embrace of the Christian Church to the faithful. A similar structure exhalts the attitude of Baroque art to create optical effects and movement while walking along the colonnade. In front of Saint Peter’s basilica there is an Egyptian obelisk 40 meters in height dating back to the XIII century B.C. The obelisk was brought to Rome in the 1st century and was moved to the square in 1585 by will of Pope Sixtus V according to Roman tradition. Near to the obelisk there is the focus of the ellipse, a point signaled by a circular stone where the colonnade seems to be formed of a single row of columns instead of four. To the sides of the obelisk there are two fountains, designed by Carlo Maderno and Carlo Fontana in 1613 and 1677 respectively. During the Fascist period Via della Conciliazione was built to celebrate the official reconciliation between the Italian State and the Catholic Church of Rome. This street connects the Vatican to the rest of Rome. Before the street didn’t exist and instead of it there was a series of Medieval palaces, the so-called Borghi Vecchi (Old Neighborhoods), that hindered the sight of the monuments at a certain distance. The paving of the square is characterized by radiating lines in Travertine marble reminding one of the idea of a sea of cobblestones. In 1817 there was the addition of circular stones to mark the tip of the obelisk’s shadow as the sun entered the signs of the zodiac. Today the square is one of the most charming and beautiful places to visit in Rome, a point of reference of the faithful and an open-work of art.
Piazza San Pietro: How to Get There
St. Peter's Square in Rome is easily reachable by the Rome Metro (Ottaviano-San Pietro stop, Line A).
Piazza San Pietro: What to See While Your There
Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and if you're interested in doing some shopping, Via Cola di Rienzo.
Piazza San Pietro: Where to Stay
If you are interested in staying near the Vatican (highly recommended if you want to get to the Vatican Museums early), take a look at our pages St Peter's Bed and Breakfast, or look for a hotel near Piazza San Pietro in Rome-Explorer.com's Rome Hotel Guide.
More and different things to come in Piazza San Pietro.
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