St. Peters Square ( Piazza San Pietro), Vatican City

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  • St. Peter's Square
    St. Peter's Square
    by balhannah
  • St. Peter's Square
    St. Peter's Square
    by balhannah
  • St. Peter's Square
    St. Peter's Square
    by balhannah
  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    The Obelisk

    by GentleSpirit Updated Jun 1, 2013

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    The Obelisk was brought from Egypt under the reign of Caligula for use in his circus in 37 BC. It was there that St Peter was killed. The Obelisk is 25 meters high and was moved to its present location in 1586. It is said that moving the Obelisk took 4 months.

    I found it particularly interesting that there are so many Egyptian obelisks in Rome. It seemed that there was one in front so many of the major sites, much more so than other major cities.

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    Fountains

    by GentleSpirit Updated Feb 13, 2013

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    Fountain

    The fountain in St Peter's Square is the work of Carlo Maderno (1613) and is 8 meters high. The second fountain was by Bernini, the architect of St Peters' Square, to create appropriate balance in the "square." Interestingly, the second fountain (the one on the left) wasn't built until 1675.

    The photo gives you a better idea of the colonnade, there are in fact 4 rows of columns!

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    ST. PETERS

    by balhannah Written Sep 4, 2012
    St. Peter's Square
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    Everybody that comes to the Vatican will come here. Perhaps everybody will be amazed at the size of St. Peter's Square, I know I was! Even though I had seen it many times on Television, this square still took my breath away. I stood there and tried to imagine the Pope and 400,000 people in the crowd.
    It was amazing!

    This Square came about when Alexander VII was elected as the new pope in April 1655.
    Construction of the square started in 1656 and was completed twelve years later, in 1667.

    St. Peter's Square is bordered on either side by semi-circular colonnades which are meant to symbolize the stretched arms of the church embracing the world. The colonnades were built in 1660 and consist of four rows of columns which look like one row from certain angles, and has 140 Statues on top of the colonnades, depicting popes, martyrs, evangelists and other religious figures.

    At the center of the square stands an Egyptian obelisk, made of red granite and supported by bronze lions, altogether, 41 meters to the cross on its top. The obelisk was originally erected at Heliopolis by an unknown pharaoh of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt (c. 2494 BC – 2345 BC). During its history, the obelisk has been successfully moved 3 times.

    What about the beautiful Fontana Fountain, installed in the square in 1613.

    Last, but not least, was the Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica), which was built between 1506 and 1626. You can climb all the way to the top of the imposing dome of the basilica, just imagine the views.

    All seemed so impressive! Just make sure you walk around everywhere, look up, look around, and look in every nook and cranny!

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    St Peter's Square and the Columnade

    by GentleSpirit Written Aug 29, 2012

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    Piazza San Pietro- the Columnade
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    The magnificent square was designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini during the years 1657-67.

    As you come into the square you are just struck by how enormous it seems. It is wide open and airy, giving a sense of grandeur and balance. If you take a closer look at the Doric columns you will notice that there are several (4) rows of them, which at first i thought was an optical illusion.

    On top of that columns are the statues of 140 saints.

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    Saint Peter's Square

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Aug 1, 2012

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    Saint Peter's Square
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    Saint Peter's Square is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica.
    The open space was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII.
    The colossal Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, frame the trapezoidal entrance to the basilica and the massive elliptical area which precedes it.
    At the center of the ovato tondo stands an Egyptian obelisk of red granite, 25.5 meters tall, supported on bronze lions and surmounted by the Chigi arms in bronze, in all 41 meters to the cross on its top.
    The paving is varied by radiating lines in travertine, to relieve what might otherwise be a sea of cobblestones.

    You can watch my 2 min 06 sec Video Rome Vatican St Peter's square out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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  • ant1606's Profile Photo

    Piazza San Pietro

    by ant1606 Written Sep 21, 2011
    Vatican City - St. Peter

    A couple of steps across the virtual border and you're into Vatican City, of course after passing by countless souvenir stores in Via della Conciliazione. Hub of the Catholic Church, the Vatican City territory is the smallest country in the world and the remnant of the former Papal State that was annexed to Italy on September 20th, 1870.
    St. Peter is a magnificent baroque piazza of elliptical shape, with peripheral columns centered around an obelisk, and two fountains. The "square" then extends towards the impressive Basilica's facade. As one can imagine, plenty of visitors at all time and difficult to manage on Sundays when the Pope addresses the faithful pilgrims from a window.

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    Saint Peter's Square

    by eksvist Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    view to the Saint Peter's Square
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    Saint Peter's Square - Piazza San Pietro, is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome.

    The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the facade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace.

    The colossal Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, frame the trapezoidal entrance to the basilica and the massive elliptical area which precedes it. The colonnades define the piazza.

    At the center of the ellipse stands an Egyptian obelisk of red granite, 25.5 meters tall, supported on bronze lions and surmounted by the Chigi arms in bronze, in all 41 meters to the cross on its top.
    The obelisk, of the 13th century BC, was moved to Rome in AD 37.
    The Vatican Obelisk is the only obelisk in Rome that has not toppled since ancient Roman times.

    The Apostolic Palace, also called the Papal Palace or the Palace of the Vatican, is the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City.
    The palace is a complex of buildings, comprising the Papal Apartments, some of the Catholic Church's government offices, a handful of chapels, the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library. In all, there are over 1,000 rooms with the most famous including Raphael's Rooms and the Sistine Chapel with its renowned ceiling frescoes painted by Michelangelo (restored between 1980 and 1990).
    On Sundays at noon, the pope usually (if he's in town) appears at the second window from the right of the Apostolic Palace, to pray the Angelus and bless the crowd in the Square. Benedict XVI has continued this tradition.

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Mother of all piazza del duomo in Italy

    by Tijavi Updated Oct 15, 2010

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    St Peter's Square is in itself a destination - the piazza del duomo of all piazze in all Italy! From the dramatic architecture to scenes of pilgrims and tourists and Michelangelo-clad Swiss guards, it's worth at least an hour of "loitering."

    Some favorite scenes:
    Picture 1 - the dramatic facade of St Peter's Basilica with the obelisk marking the site of St Peter's crucifixion;

    Picture 2 - a nun praying the rosary while listening to the Pope's message during a public audience day;

    Picture 3 - an interesting contrast to the nun in picture 2, a fashionably dressed tourist;

    Picture 4 - a team of Rome's caribinieri looking dapper in their uniforms; and

    Picture 5 - again, interesting contrast with the Swiss guard clad in a Michelangelo-designed uniform from the Renaissance age.

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    St Peter's Square

    by Maryimelda Updated Aug 26, 2010

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    From atop the basilica
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    The square, as mentioned earlier, was the work of the great Bernini. It is massive in its proportions and is usually a hive of activity. I have at times visited the Square when it was being prepared for some event or celebration which loomed in the very near future. I was there the day before the canonisation of Jose Maria Escriva and there were dozens of workers setting out chairs and arranging electrical speakers and the like. This is not an usual happening here at St Peter's.
    To see the square in all of its glory however, it is best to climb at least to the roof of the basilica but better yet, the top of the Cupola. It is an amazing sight.

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  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The Egyptian Obelisk

    by June.b Written Jun 24, 2010

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    The Egyptian Obelisk stands 40 meters in height. It lies at the center of the piazza.

    According to history, St. Peter requested to be crucified upside down as he is not worthy of being crucified in similar way as with Jesus Christ. It happened at the Circus of Nero in ancient Rome, the Obelisk was a silent witness to the execution of St. Peter.

    That would be the reason why it's called "The Witness".

    People gather around the Obelisk, sitting around its base after maybe a tiring tour of the basilica.

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    The Swiss Guards

    by June.b Written Jun 24, 2010

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    Would you believe, I thought those guys in colourful uniforms were just normal Italians made to dress like that to compliment the total Vatican atmosphere, just like those ones I saw in Prague's Mala Strana area. Seriously...don't blame me and my naiveté.

    Surrounding the entrance of the St. Peter's Basilica are men wearing those colourful blue-red-yellow uniforms are the Papal Swiss guards, and the only swiss guards still in existence.

    Founded in 1506, the swiss guards are responsible for the security and safety of the pope. There are about a hundred Swiss Guards today. Swiss Guard are veterans of the Swiss Army between 19 and 30 years of age, must be Catholic, good family background and not married. They take oath of loyalty to the pope.

    But honestly, they do compliment the Vatican and the whole atmosphere.

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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Piaza San Pietro

    by aukahkay Written Oct 13, 2009
    Piazza San Pietro
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    Piazza San Pietro was laid out by Bernini in 1656 - 67 for Pope Alexander VII. It is keyhole shaped and formed by the wings of the double-colonnades symbolising the outstretched arms of Mother Church embracing and protecting the congregation. In the center are fountains by Maderno and della Fontana, and an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Emperor Caligula in AD37.

    Between the obelisk and each fountain is a round marble slab, from where the spectator obtains the illusion that each colonnade has only a single row of columns.

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    Egyptian Obelisk

    by hopang Updated Sep 26, 2009

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    Egyptian obelisk with two fountains
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    The Egyptian obelisk is located in the center of St. Peters Square and is flanked by two eight meters high fountains on the northern and southern sections of the square, the northern fountain was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and the southern fountain was the work of Carlo Maderno. The obelisk was constructed of red granite and is approximately 25 meters high. The total height of the obelisk including its base and the cross on top is approximately 40 meters high.

    The 13th century BC Egyptian obelisk was brought to Rome to stand in the Circus of Nero by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD. The Italian engineer architect Domenico Fontana moved the obelisk to St. Peters Square in the 16th century on Pope Sixtus V order. Incidentally it is the only obelisk in Rome that has not been toppled since the Roman era!

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    Vatican Fountains

    by hopang Updated Sep 26, 2009

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    North fountain
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    Two beautiful Vatican fountains were erected on the northern and southern sections of St. Peters Square in the heart of the Vatican City. Both of them are approximately eight meters high. The south fountain was designed by Carlo Maderno in the year 1613 whereas the north fountain was the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini who added the fountain to the square in the year 1675. The Egyptian obelisk is located between the two fountains roughly in the center of the square. Both these fountains provide excellent background for beautiful souvenir snapshots and are very popular with local and foreign tourists! They are also favourite meeting places for the locals. Don't miss the fountains when you visit St. Peters Basilica.

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  • tim07's Profile Photo

    St Peter's Square

    by tim07 Updated Aug 31, 2009
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    The square was designed by Bernini & built between 1656 and 1667, the oval measures 340m by 240m. In the centre is an Egyptian obelisk, this is flanked by two symmetrical fountains. Round the side drawing you towards the basilica are 284 column, 88 pillar colonnades. On top of these are 140 statues of saints.

    You're never alone in the square, there's a queue round the outside of people waiting to enter the Vatican. In the centre there are always people stood having their photo taken. I enjoyed escaping the Summer heat by sitting in the shade inside the colonnades.

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