St. Peter’s Square

Vatican City – A Birds Eyeview
Photo by: jamiejohndavies, Creative Commons

St. Peter’s Square is one of the major attractions of the Vatican City. It houses St. Peter’s Basilica and the papal residence. St. Peter’s Square and the adjoining St. Peter’s Basilica is a veritable gallery replete with the works of renaissance’s greatest artists. In fact, there are so many must-see pieces of art along its corridors that it is difficult to make an itinerary. Here’s a sampling of the treats in store for you:

The Obelisk. This 25-meter-high sculpture stands tall right at the center of St. Peter’s Square. The Obelisk came from Egypt, and was brought to Rome by Emperor Caligula back in 36 AD. It was later installed at the heart of the square and now serves as a sundial. How? Tourists are able to tell that it’s noon already when the shadow of the obelisk falls on the white marble discs on the pavement.

The Colonnade. This attraction was made by Bernini as the entrance to the square itself. It stretches up to 340 meters. Its balustrade carrying 140 sculptures of saints illustrates, for Bernini, how the church embraces the entire humanity.

St. Peter’s Square Façade. This massive façade welcomes tourists to St. Peter’s Square. It is huge, at a height of 45 meters and a length of 114 meters. It is supported by eight, 27-meter-high columns with a diameter of almost three meters. This is where the Pope delivers his homily and blessings every Christmas and Easter. Below the façade lies a sculpture carved out of marble, showing Peter receiving the keys from Jesus. Massive statues of Saint Paul and Saint Peter are also installed at the gate going to the grand staircase.

St. Peter’s Dome. This dome, on the other hand, was crafted by Michelangelo, who once served as Rome’s chief architect. You can climb up to the roof to get to the gallery on top of the St. Peter’s Basilica floor. This gallery serves as a view deck for tourists who want to see a compelling, inspiring and breathtaking view of the entire St. Peter’s Square.

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