Location


ST. PETER SQUARE

The first Basilica was built around 320 A.C. for the will of the Emperor Constantine, on the burial site of Saint Peter. In the course of the centuries it was restored and decorated several times, but in the middle of 1400, during the reign of Pope Niccolò V, they started to consider rebuilding it as its spaces resulted to be inadequate to the needs of the Roman church of that time.Pope Giulio II realized the project entrusting Donato Bramante to build, on the top of the first one, a much bigger Basilica. The work started in 1506 and continued for the all of the sixteenth century, under the direction of different architects. The main successors of Bramante were: Raffaello, Antonio da Sangallo, Baldassare Peruzzi, and Michelangelo, who projected the spectacular cupola of about 136 meters and Giacomo Della Porta who completed it. In 1586 Domenico Fontana took care of the the Egyptian obelisk erection, coming from Nero’s Circus, in the very place were it’s found today.The new Basilica was completed hundred years after the laying of the first stone, with the construction of the facade designed by Carlo Maderno. In front of it, between 1657 and 1667, Gian Lorenzo Bernini realized the huge elliptic theatrical fence of the square, two arms of columns as if the Roman Church was welcoming all Christians of the world, symbolically, in its arms. Inside the Basilica are kept master works of art of immense value realized for the pontiffs by the most famous artists like Pollaiolo, Michelangelo, Bernini, Algardi and Canova. A treasure of inestimable value is finally represented by the mosaic decoration that is spread all over the chapels vaults and which beautifies all the altars, realized along the period of about 300 years by the Vatican mosaic workshop.