History, Vatican City
During the 73 years that the papacy was in Avignon ,the already basilica was so neglected that restoration was impossible.
Pope Nicolas V (1447-1455) decided to rebuild it, and gave the project to Rossellino, but after the pope's death, all work was suspended. It was Pope Julius II who began the construction of a new basilica, entrusting Bramante with the design of the great architectural project, which took 176 years to complete.
In Roman times, the Vatican was the site of the great circus of Nero, where under Nero, St.Peter was crucified (circa 64-67 AD). His body was buried nearby more than 250 years later, Constantine built magnificent basilica on the spot, which was destined to become one of the marvelous of the world.
An uninterrupted succession of 265 men have sat on St.Peter's throne, many of whom were martyrs and saints.
The Vatican has been an independent state called the Vatican City since February 11 1929, when the Lateran treaty definitively resolved "The Roman issue"
Between the church and the Italian state.
Since then, there has not been a pope who has failed to contribute to the grandeur and dignity of the Vatican, to make his holly hill an increasingly worthy seat for the supreme head of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican has been the residence of the popes only since 1377, six centuries interrupted by long stays at the Quirinal Palace.
Before the pontifical court was transferred to Avignon 1309-1377, the headquarters of the pope had been at the Lateran.
This is the traditional path of Christian pilgrimages to the Vatican. The statues that line the bridge represent the stations of the cross.