San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 36 Reviews

Piazza S. Pietro in Vincoli

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Chains of St Peter in the reliquary
    Chains of St Peter in the reliquary
    by GentleSpirit
  • San Pietro in Vincoli
    by RACCOON1
  • San Pietro in Vincoli
    by RACCOON1
  • icunme's Profile Photo

    Michelangelo's MOSES

    by icunme Updated May 21, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Close up Moses in the dim light
    4 more images

    He's there in San Pietro in Vincoli (Church of St Peter in Chains) - in all his strength and majesty - a huge, powerful figure. An unusual experience for me as I approached the right nave and took a close up photo of Moses (photo 1 - not much light here) - I moved over to the right side as Moses is facing that direction - another tourist moved over and gave me room to get at good view - as I raised my camera and focused, the lights suddenly brightened (photos 2 and 3) - the man and I looked at each other a bit shocked - was Moses telling us something? After a moment the lights dimmed again and it dawned on us that the lighting was timed - bit of a relief to know that!

    Photo 4 - The Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (photo 4)- simple Renaissance façade built by Meo del Caprina in 1475 for Sixtus IV Della Rovere - Vinculis (links but also chains) is a reference to the chains of St. Peter for which a church was built on this site as early as 442 by Empress Eudoxia minor. This explains why the church is also called Basilica Eudossiana.
    Photo 5 - Altar with chains of St Peter encased in glass

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Moses but also the "Angel of Death".

    by breughel Updated Feb 15, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the
    4 more images

    San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains) is a minor basilica, the church of della Rovere family, on a hill 300 m north of the Colosseum.
    The façade was a deception for us but worthwhile inside is the Michelangelo's statue of Moses, part of the tomb of Pope Julius II (photos 2 & 3).

    I will not rewrite the story of the magnificent project of the tomb of Pope Julius II with 47 statues of Carare marble; VT member Brendareed wrote here an excellent review about the ups and downs of this epic 40 years tragicomedy.
    When Brenda writes that Michelangelo always considered himself to be a sculptor first, I fully agree and would like to add that he spent 8 months in Carare only to choose the blocs of marble!
    Everything has been written about the "horns" of Moses resulting from a bad translation of the Hebrew "beams of light" and that horns are easier to sculpt than rays of light.
    About light I would like to add that if the visitor wants to see something of Moses in this rather dark church, especially on a rainy day, he has to spend some money to put on the lights.

    I have no comments about the fused chains of San Pietro (photo 4); I'm used to separate science from the legends that belong to my ancestral culture and traditions.
    I was more interested by the tomb of Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini, decorated with imagery of the Grim Reaper a skeleton carrying a scythe on an altar in the left aisle (photo 1). Here he has wings so that he is "The Angel of Death".
    Another tomb, also of a Church dignitary, is decorated with two expressive skeletons "Spectres of Death" (photo 5). As a child I was much impressed by the image of the Grim Reaper called in French "La Grande Faucheuse" often found in religious paintings or sculptures. I still was impressed by these tombs at San Pietro in Vincoli.

    Open: 07.30 - 12.30 and 15.30 - 18.00 h. Closed around noon time!
    Free entry.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo

    64 AD - the chains of Petrus.

    by belgianchocolate Updated Jun 30, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness



    Petrus is one of the 12 apostle . One of the 12
    disciples of jezus. He is important in Christian
    religion as he is seen as the first pope.
    Jesus gave him the keys of to heaven.
    If you see a statue with keys , a cock or fish
    it is likely to be 'Sint Pieter'.
    In belgium a lot of jokes are circulating about
    people who come to 'Sinte Pieter' to get
    into heaven. Whatever...

    He probably was killed in the year 64 AD when
    Nero was emperor . He is buried where
    now the 'San Pietro in Vaticano' is located.

    Anyway , were am I heading for.
    The church 'SanPietro in Vincoli' was build
    for the chains for 'San Pietro'.
    'Vincoli' means chains.
    They are kept in a relic shrine in front of the
    church. It was quit usual to keep these things
    and worship them at that time.
    It is sure that they are from that period ,
    but if it is the real stuff??? Who knows.

    The story goes that there were 2 chains that
    Petrus held prison in the marmertine prison
    and when they met again in Rome they
    miraculously joined together.

    How about that?

    Was this review helpful?

  • doug48's Profile Photo

    san pietro in vincoli

    by doug48 Written Jul 26, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the chains of st. peter

    san pietro in vincoli is an interesting church to visit. it houses the vincoli (chains) of st. peter while he was being held in mamertime prison. later the chains were sent to constantinople. in the 5th century one of the pair of chains was returned to rome. pope leo I built this church to house this relic. later the other chain was sent back to rome and it was a perfect match. today the chains are displayed under the high altar.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Church of St. Peter in Chains

    by goodfish Updated Feb 6, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    3 more images

    This church was commissioned by Pope Leo I to house the chains which supposedly shackled St. Peter when he was imprisoned firstly in Jerusalem and then in Rome. Built in the 5th century over the remains of an imperial villa, it has been restored and rebuilt several times since.

    Besides the chains - which can be seen in a glass case near the high altar- the biggest reason to make a stop is to see Michelangelo's Moses. Commissioned for the lavish tomb of Pope Julius II, it was one of only two pieces completed after Julius' death before the the next Pope set the poor sculptor, who much preferred hacking away at marble to dabbling at ceilings, to work on the Sistine Chapel. The two knobs on Moses' head was a misinterpretation of the Hebrew description for the rays of light that shone from his face when he came down from the Mount. Translated to Latin, it came out as 'horns'. He looks cranky 'cause, well, there was this unfortunate incident involving a golden calf...

    The church is in the same general vicinity (Esquiline) as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which makes it convenient to give both a look-see while in the area. See this site for hours and other info:

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/luoghi-di-culto-di-interesse-storico-artistico/chiese-cattoliche/san-pietro-in-vincoli.html

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • doug48's Profile Photo

    michelangelo's moses

    by doug48 Updated Jul 26, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    michelanglo's moses

    also located in the church of san pietro in vincoli is michelangelo's moses. this famous sculpture is part of the tomb of pope julius II. julius commissioned the tomb in 1505 but lost interest in the project because of his renovation of st. peters. michelangelo had originally planned fourty statues for the monument but he only finished "moses" and the "dying slave". this is another reason to visit this interesting church

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    San Pietro in Vincoli

    by croisbeauty Written Jan 7, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Pietro in Vincoli - interiors
    4 more images

    According to Roman standards, San Pietro in Vincoli is reletively small church. It has almost insignificant facade but its interiors is rich of magnificent works of art. Those who are not fammiliar with probably wont even stop by.
    The church was built by Eudoxia, daughter of Theodosius the Younger and wife of the Emperor Valentinian III. The basilica was called Eudoxiana or more commonly San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains). The portico was constructed in the 15th century for Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, the future Pope Julius II, who ordered Michelangelo to build him a funeral monument.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    San Pietro in Vincoli

    by Paul2001 Written Dec 1, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Moses by Michelangelo, San Pietro di Vincoli
    1 more image

    The San Pietro in Vincoli is one of the most visited churches in all of Rome. This is primarily because it houses one of Italy's the most important pieces of art. That would be Michelangelo's Moses. This magnificent sculpture was created by the master as part of the Tomb of Pope Julius II. The work is considered to be one of Michelangelo's masterpieces. Of interest is that the face of Moses was a self portrait of Michelangelo himself. And for those into movie trivia, Charlton Heston was cast as Moses by Cecil B. Demille for the film "The Ten Commandments" because of his resemblence to this image of Moses.
    The church itself was founded in the 5th century in honour of location where St. Peter was brought into Rome in chains. The chains that supposedly restrained St. Peter can be seen within the church. In English the name of the church translates as St. Peter in Chains.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    St. Peter in Chains Church

    by rexvaughan Written Jan 15, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Pietro in Vincoli

    This is said to be one of the first churches in Rome but whether that is true or not, it is worth a visit. It is not an impressive building and I don't think it even looks like a church. It dates from the 5th C and was one of the Roman "house churches." It has two major claims to fame: it has enshrined what are said to be the chains in which St. Peter was imprisoned in Rome and it has Michelangelo's statue of Moses which was originally intended to be one of 48 for Pope Julius II's tomb. Unfortunately for Julius he died about the time the project got started. Michelangelo reportedly worked on ths statue off and on for 30 years. Happily for us he finished it as there are some he never completed (the "prisoners" in Florence for example). It is a very impressive statue and you can walk right up to it and look into those all-knowing eyes.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    St Peter in Chains

    by GentleSpirit Updated Jan 28, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Michelangelo's Moses
    1 more image

    This is a minor basilica located across the street from the Coliseum. You go uphill for a bit and its right there. Has a lovely view of some of the landmarks. More than anything else, this church (basilica) is famous for having Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses.

    The sculpture was supposed to be part of an ornate and substantially larger tomb for Pope Julius II, the famous "Warrior Pope." This was the same pope that was responsible for giving Michelangelo the commission to paint the Sistine Chapel and was a known generous patron of the arts. The Moses statue is amazing, (though a bit more muscular than I thought would be realistic) it is one of those situations where the stone comes to life. For me, this is a must see in Rome!

    In the reliquary, and this is another big reason to see this church, are the chains that bound St Peter.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • monorailgold's Profile Photo

    St Peter in chains church

    by monorailgold Written Aug 5, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the chains that held St. Peter

    If you find yourself wandering down the via cavour, take a few minutes and stop into this church. Not only is the church beautiful, but it also houses two treasures. The first being the chains that held St. Peter during his two imprisonments in Jeruselem and Rome. These are displayed in a case under the alter. These chains are said to have miraculously fused together. Empress Eudoxia had the church built to house the chains.
    The other treasure is Michelangelo's Moses statue. He is coming back from Mount Sinai with the commandments under his arm and frowning at the antics of his brethren in regards to the golden calf. On his head are two small horns, as St. Jerome had translated the word "Karan ohr" (rays of light) as horns. "Keren" in Hebrew can mean either "ray" or "horn". There is also a scratch on his knee where Michelangelo reportedly thought the statue was so lifelike he struck it on the knee with his chisel and said "Now speak!". It is a powerful sculpture and well worth seeing.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo

    St Peters in Chains

    by Roadquill Written Aug 12, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Chains
    1 more image

    In a non descript church of few blocks North of the Colosseum is San Pietro in Vincole is not only "the chains the held Saint Peter" but also Michelangelo's Horned Moses. The Moses is really cool, but the chains are the most dramatic.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Wine Tasting
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    St. Peter's in Chains ( 2 photos )

    by nicolaitan Written Aug 20, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    This church is most famous for its contents - the relics of St. Peter and Michelangelo's Moses. The church was built between 432-440 by the Empress Eudoxia to honor the chains from Jerusalem and Rome used to imprison St. Peter. When Eudoxia gifted the Jerusalem chains to Pope Leo I, he compared them with the Rome chains and they miraculously fused together. The chains are kept in a reliquary under the main altar and can be illuminated for a brief period by inserting a small coin into the light machine.

    Michelangelo's Moses is part of an incomplete funeral monument for Pope Julius II (whose remains are at St. Peter's). Of interest are the horns on Moses' head - these are attributed to "rays of light" said to be rising from his face after his meeting with God on Mt. Sinai.

    As with most major Roman churches, there have been multiple renovations and rebuildings over the centuries. there are multiple examples of sacred art, of which perhaps the most famous is the 18th Century ceiling fresco Miracle of the Chains by Parodi.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Frisbeeace's Profile Photo

    Michelangelo's Moses

    by Frisbeeace Updated May 24, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Moses

    San Pietro in Vincoli is not a stunning church, but is quite noteworthy for Michaelangelo's magnificent statue of Moses from 1545, found to the right of the altar. Michaelangelo felt this work superior to the Pieta. It was made for the monumental tomb of Pope Julius II, and was supposed to be in the new St Peter's at the Vatican but the project was never completed.

    You should combine this visit with the Colisseum which is only a few blocks apart. Access from Annabaldi which runs from the right side of the Colosseo Metro station.

    Was this review helpful?

  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Me and Moses

    by von.otter Updated Sep 6, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Me and Moses

    Then suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. 'Get up!' he said, 'Hurry!' and the chains fell from his hands.
    — The Holy Bible, Acts 12, 7

    The cavernous Basilica of St. Peter in Chains houses the monument to Pope Julius II. This is the pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He also engaged the Florentine native to design and carve his final resting place.

    Crowds flock to see the tomb of Pope Julius II, with its central focus, Moses the Lawgiver. Michelangelo’s monument to his demanding papal patron went through many changes between 1505 and 1545. At one point the design called for 40 separate sculpted figures. Once a final design was reached in 1545, 32 years after the pontiff’s death, it took two years to complete. But this is not a tomb, but a monument because the pope’s remains do not rest here but at St. Peter’s in the Vatican.

    Those horns sticking up from the prophet’s head are Michelangelo’s attempt to depict the rays of light the Old Testament tells us were emanating from his head when he came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments.

    Hollywood trivia: it is said that Cecil B. deMille cast Charlton Heston as Moses in his movie “The Ten Commandments,” because the actor supposedly resemblanced this marble Moses!

    In AD 439 Empress Eudoxia, wife of the Emperor Valentinian III, sent the chains that had fettered St. Peter in Jerusalem to Pope St. Leo I Magno. When he compared these chains to those from St. Peter’s nine-month sentence in Rome’s Mamertine prison the chains fused together. They were placed in a basilica dedicated to SS Peter and Paul. The name was changed to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, San Pietro in Vincoli, in AD 442.

    Safely locked up in a gilded bronze and glass box below the high altar the chains are objects of worship. Crowds gather around, tossing money on the floor in front of the chains.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Rome

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

92 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near San Pietro in Vincoli
3.5 out of 5 stars
21 Opinions
0 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
453 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
3.0 out of 5 stars
65 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all Rome hotels