St. Peter's Square - Piazza San Pietro, Rome

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  • St. Peter's Square - Piazza San Pietro
    by brendareed
  • St. Peter's Square - Piazza San Pietro
    by brendareed
  • St. Peter's Square - Piazza San Pietro
    by brendareed
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    St. Peter’s Square – Bernini’s Colonnades

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    Before I went to St. Peter’s Square, I had always thought that there was just one row of Doric columns around the square, but in fact there are four. From most places in the square, you can see the four rows of columns – but on either side of the central obelisk you will find a porphyry disc in the ground which, if you stand on it, it creates the illusion that there really is only one row of columns.

    These two magnificent colonnades were designed by the master sculptor Bernini in the mid-1600s in the shape of an ellipse contain 284 Doric columns and 88 pilasters. At the top of the two colonnades are 96 statues of saints and martyrs. The two colonnades meet at St. Peter’s Basilica at the triple staircase and the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, providing a striking entryway into this favorite church. Of course, you cannot enter St. Peter’s Basilica from here directly – you have to go through the security process to the right of the church first.

    I highly recommend viewing St. Peter’s Square and the colonnades from the dome. The view from above really puts Bernini’s work into perspective and you can see this wonderful piece of architecture from a whole new level.

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    St. Peter’s Square - obelisk

    by brendareed Updated Jun 2, 2014

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    The obelisk in the center of St. Peter’s Square was brought from Alexandria for Augustus in AD 37 and it is believed that this obelisk was in Caligula’s circus (Circus of Nero). It is a plain obelisk and has no hieroglyphics on it. The obelisk is 25.5 meters (83.6 feet) tall.

    The obelisk came to St. Peter’s Square in 1586 under the order of Pope Sixtus V. It took 900 men, 150 horses, and nearly 50 cranes to move the obelisk from the circus to the square.

    Around the base of the obelisk is a mariner’s compass and shows the names of the four winds. At the top of the obelisk is a cross, but this has only been since it was placed in the center of St. Peter’s Square (1586); prior to that there was a globe on top of the obelisk. The globe can be seen in the Capitoline Museums.

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    St. Peter's Square

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    Designed by Bernini in the mid-1600s, St. Peter's Square is civic architecture at its finest. You can think of the square as enveloped in two large arms that reach out from St. Peter’s Basilica – these arms are made up of the semi-circular colonnades of 284 columns. On top of the two “arms” are statues of 96 saints and martyrs.

    It is from the square that you enter St. Peter’s Basilica. On the right side (if you are looking at the church), you will see the security lines. You cannot climb the stairs in front of the Basilica from the square – you will see the barriers in place. On either side of these stairs are two very large statues – the one of the right side is St. Paul and on the left is St. Peter (Peter’s statues almost always have him holding a set of keys).

    Warning! As you approach St. Peter’s Square, you will begin to be approached by countless people trying to sell you sunglasses or trinkets, give you guided tours, asking you for money, and other things. The closer you get, the most frequent the requests (we counted 10 such requests to us personally in less than a block and passed so many others that were trying to deal with other people). Before heading towards this area, be sure you have secured your valuables away from pickpockets and be firm when saying ‘no’ to these people. Simply keep walking – don’t stop – don’t make eye contact. Sometimes it is hard to be rude, but these people are simply out to take your money. Avoid them when possible, ignore them when approached. Politeness does not work here and your first ‘no’ is not always adhered to (neither is your second or third ‘no’ as sometimes they will simply follow you for sometime hoping you’ll buy whatever it is they are selling to get rid of them).

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    St. Peter’s Square: Its Obelisk

    by von.otter Updated Mar 17, 2013

    Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat. Christus ab omni malo plebem suam defendat. (Christ is the victor, Christ is King, Christ is the ruler, May Christ defend His people from all evil).
    —the inscription on the obelisk at St. Peter’s Square.

    Since 1586 an 83-foot tall Egyptian obelisk has stood at the center of St. Peter’s Square. Pope Sixtus V assigned the task to Domenico Fontana, his favorite architect, to relocate it there, originally standing within the spine of Nero’s Circus, located south of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was at this Circus where the martyrdoms of St. Peter and of many other Christians took place.

    In AD 37 the obelisk was brought from Heliopolis, Egypt to Rome by Emperor Caligula. Hewn from a single block of pink granite the obelisk was created on the order of Pharaoh Mencares in 1835 BC to honor the sun. The word ‘obelisk’ comes from obeliscus, meaning “in the shape of a spear.” The obelisk was a symbol of the sun, representing the flow of energy between heaven and earth, a way of connecting with the divine. At the top, the cross, containing a relic of the True Cross, hovers above a star and three hills, the coat of arms of Pope Alexander VII. At the base are four couchant bronze lions, whose tails intertwine, supported by a high pedestal.

    On 30.April.1586, Domenico Fontana and his brother Giovanni put into motion their plan for moving the obelisk to a solid foundation, that had been laid to support it in the center of the piazza. The operation, illustrated in several contemporary engravings, was carried out using hemp ropes, 900 men, 140 horses and 44 winches, and was completed on 10.September of the same year.

    The Obelisk, St. Peter���s Square, May 2007 The Obelisk, St. Peter���s Square, May 2007 The Obelisk, St. Peter���s Square, May 2007 The Obelisk, St. Peter���s Square, Dec. 1997 The Obelisk, St. Peter���s Square, May 2007
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    09-St. Peter's Basilica-02-St. Peter's Square

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Oct 2, 2012

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    When you enter the hallowed St. Peter's Square, you are overwhelmed by its vastness. It was designed and built by Bernini between 1656 and 1667, during the time of Pope Alexander VII. It is 1,050 ft (320 m) long and 790 ft (240 m) wide. If you have the time, you can count 284 columns all around it, in sets of four and 88 pilasters (rectangular columns projecting a few inches from a wall and acting like an ornamental motif). There are 140 statues of saints, all over 10 feet (3.20 m) high above the columns. Two large fountains flank the obelisk, one built by Maderno (1614) and the other by Bernini (1675). The entire visual effect is of a warm embrace with the encircling columns wrapping you round in ecclesiastical fervour.

    First Written: Oct. 02, 2012

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    Watching the pope from Piazza San Pietro

    by Sienlu Updated May 18, 2010

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    It was an amazing feeling for me to be able to see the pope and stand right there on Piazza San Pietro.

    Go inside and look at the amazing art, make sure you cover your shoulders and do not wear anything above your knees, they will not let you in!

    Then walk the stairs inside the cupola, it's quiet a workout but well worth it once you are on top and have this amazing view of Piazza San Pietro and the entire city of Rome.

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    St. Peter's Square

    by gigina Written Aug 30, 2008

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    Guests enter Vatican City through expansive St. Peter’s Square. This breathtaking piazza is one place in Rome that no one should miss, regardless of their religious persuasion. The square was laid out by Bernini during the pontificates of Alexander VII and of Clement IX (1657-1667). Visitors to this magnificent square (which is actually a circle) are surrounded by two huge colonnades, with 284 Doric columns arranged in 4 rows, atop which stand 140 saints.

    In the center of the square, you’ll find an 85-foot-tall Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome by Caligula in 38 AD from Heliopolis, located on the Nile Delta. Fountains are situated on either side of the obelisk. The one sitting on the right was placed in this location but Bernini and was made by Carlo Maderno. The other was created by Carlo Fontana.

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    St. Peters

    by azz8206 Updated May 15, 2008

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    Go to St. Peter's Square and Basilica while in Rome, it costs you nothing to visit the Square and to enter the Basilica for an afternoon. You don't need to go with any tour guides. You may have to wait in line for about an hour though.

    View of St. Peter's Basilica from the Square The line starts here The Papal balcony The Vatican guard The brilliance of the ceilings
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    St. Peter's Square

    by wilocrek Written Mar 29, 2008

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    This is one of the most famous squares in the world and without a doubt one of the most awe inspiring in both the architecture and history. Home to the famous Easter speeches given by the Pope every spring, there is always something going on in St. Peter's Square. A ticket is not required to get in and there is never a line, so even if your on a tight time schedule you can fit in a quick visit to the world famous St. Peter's Square!

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    ST. PETR'S SQUARE- A HOLY LAND MARK

    by kmohandas Updated Mar 24, 2008

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    T his is a large public square outside Saint Peter's Basilica, the greatest church on Earth. The square is in fact round shaped, with two huge colonnades on the periphery. The roofs of these colonnades are supported by four rows of Doric columns, each 60-feet tall. The ellipse symbolizes Saint Peter's, the mother church of Christianity, embracing the world. At the center of the square is an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Caligula in 38 AD from the Nile Delta. It was part of Nero's Circus where Saint Peter was crucified, and where construction on Saint Peter's began in 324 AD.
    The obelisk was moved to its present location by Pope Sixtus V.. The obelisk is flanked by two fountains, and halfway between the fountains and the obelisk are stone circles in the ground. If you stand on one of the circles, you can see an optical illusion -- the four rows of 60-foot tall pillars forming the colonnade disappear behind each other and look like a single row. The piazza is large enough to accommodate the devotees that show up at Sunday after-noon and several other times each week to hear the Pope during the mass and to seek his blessings.
    The square can accommodate about 300,000 people but has been known to allow more people to come in. The Pope delivers his blessing from a library window overlooking the square. You can approach the square, Saint Peter's, and the Vatican as a whole by coming up the Via della Conciliazione.

    ST. PETER'S SQURE
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    St Peters Square

    by vickss Written Nov 6, 2007

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    I am not the most religious person around but I do come from a country which has thousands of different Gods. I had heard about how mad the scramble is at the Vatican specially at the museum and I wanted to check this one out.

    St Peters Square is really grand. I mean more grand than what I had imagined

    St Peters Square

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  • rita_simoes's Profile Photo

    Centro del Colonnato

    by rita_simoes Updated Oct 14, 2007

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    At St. Peter's square, there is one precise point where you can see all the columns lined, making it look like there is only one row. I find it to be quite cool, but I have a tendency to appreciate the most simple things, so maybe there's no interest to it whatsoever :-)

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  • monorailgold's Profile Photo

    In the piazza of St. Peter's

    by monorailgold Written Jun 9, 2007

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    Going to St. Peter's basillica is the thrill of a lifetime for most of us. Knowing we are on the same ground that St. Peter himself walked on and is buried in makes it extra special. One thing a lot of people forget to do when they arrive at St. Peter's is to take the time to look at the outside of this amazing basillica. The piazza of St. Peter's is beautiful. There is a huge 90 foot marble obelisk in the center of the piazza. This obelisk is over 2000 years old and came from Egypt. It was originally brought to Rome by the emporer Caligula. Flanking the obelisk are two wonderful fountains. The original made by Maderno and a copy mady by Bernini. There are also 284 marble colomns lining the perimeter of the piazza. Atop the colomns are 90 saints. These are each 10 feet high. Atop the church itself are statues of Jesus, John the baptist and 11 of the apostles. Flanking the steps leading into the basillica are statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.

    You can spend the better part of an hour just walking around this Piazza, taking in all the wonderful sites. Even the street lamps are beautiful. So be sure to really enjoy this site when you finally get to Rome. Take lots of pictures and marvel at the enourmous amount of talent it took to make this piazza so special.

    St. Peter in front of the basillica one of the twin fountains rooftop statues street lamp
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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    St. Peter`s square

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated May 16, 2007

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    The giant square in front of St. Peters Cathedral, created by the famous architect Bernini in the mid-17th century and financed by the pope Alexander VII. who was a famous sponsor of arts and architecture in his time. The collumns on either side of the square are crowned by 144 statues of holy men and martyrs.

    Technically, St. Peters square belongs to the independent Vatican State (and not to Italy). The best view on St. Peters square is from the viewing platform on St. Peters Cathedral.

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  • newsphotogirl's Profile Photo

    St. Peter's Square

    by newsphotogirl Updated Nov 20, 2006

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    After our visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel we were exhausted but walked over to St. Peter's Square. Even though it can be crowded at times it was very peaceful to sit under the vast columns and watch the crowds and take in the surroundings. The piazza, another on of Bernini's creations, was designed to hold the large crowds who arrive during religious events. It was exciting to see in person what I have only seen in news coverage.

    There is a red stone on the north-west side of the square on the exact spot where Pope John Paul II was shot.

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