Saint Peter’s Square, Visit the Basilica of St Peter’s, Vatican City private tours, Official Guided tours to discover the Holy See in Rome.
The main body of the basilica, as we see it today, therefore dates back to the first half of the 17th century. On the other hand, the definitive architectural structure of the square that leads to the basilica dates immediately after.
THE PELLEGRINO DISCOVERED IT from afar, at the mouth of Via Della Conciliazione, opened in memory of the signing of the “Lateran Pacts” between the Italian State and the Holy See on February 11, 1929, and which overlooks the majestic St. Peter’s Square. Bernini’s colonnade crowns this architectural work, giving the largest basilica in the world – 187 meters long and 150 meters wide between the ends of the cross arms – an atrium worthy of it.
Built between 1657 and 1667, the colonnade, with its 284 columns, 88 pillars, and 140 marble statues of saints, welcomes the grained skin with solemnity and invites it to climb the steps of the sanctuary to go to pay homage to the prince of the apostles. Larger than the space occupied by the Colosseum, the square measures 340 meters in length, with a width of 240 meters between the two arms of the colonnade. (Tours in Rome)
The breadth is such that those two open arms give the grainy skin the well-founded impression that opens onto something other than the smallest State in the world, the Vatican City State, with its 44 hectares. The heart of Christianity welcomes him, where a long series of popes and bishops, an immense crowd of saints and sinners, preceded him on this earthly journey. The pilgrimage represents a fundamental stage in men’s journey towards the City of God.
Crossing these immense square thousand of times to rejoice at work at the Secretariat of State, I have often dreamed of a brilliant filmmaker capable of making these Baroque personalities converse animatedly. In the pavement between the obelisk and each of the two fountains, the pilgrim will be able to discover an oval stone that indicates the center of their circle. Seen from this point, the columns disappear one after the other to see only a single row of trees in this immense forest that leads the mind back to the unity of catholicity.
Saint Peter’s Square, Visit the Basilica of St. Peter’s
The Caligula obelisk
WIDE STRIPES OF Lustrous TRAVERTINE in the shape of rays mark the pavement in the center of the square, the rosette from which the Caligula obelisk dominates this vast expanse. The emperor had this marble monolith transported from Heliopolis to Egypt, in the year 39, to the later called Nero’s circus. Moving it to the center of the square, in 1586, Sixtus V crowned it with a large wrought iron cross, containing a relic of the true Cross.
On the granite base, a lapidary inscription imperiously proclaims its meaning: “Behold the cross of the Lord. Flee from opposing powers. The lion of the tribe of Judah has won ». Furthermore, these words: «Christ is the winner. Christ reigns. Christ rules. Christ protects his people from every adversity >>.
From base to top, the monolith measures 41.23 meters high, and its weight is 312 tons.
Two monumental fountains pour 38,400 liters of water per minute on either side, filling the square with a gentle murmur. The pearl rain falls into two overlapping tanks. The top of the water jet reaches a height of 14 meters.
St. Peter’s square
A MEETING PLACE of Catholicism, St. Peter’s Square has seen, in the last few decades, its function as a liturgical setting, wonderfully suited to the celebration in important moments, happy or painful, of the life of the Roman and universal Church: from the solemn opening procession of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, on October 11, 1962, to the closing of the same Council, in 1965, on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, with the messages addressed to the whole world from the churchyard by the successor of John XXIII, Paul VI, until the beginning of the papal ministry of John Paul II, whose message has continued to spread throughout the world since October 22, 1978, the day when he said with a powerful voice: “Do not be afraid, open, open all doors to Christ. Open the frontiers of states to his saving power, the economic and political systems, the immense domains of culture, civilization, development. Do not be afraid. He is allowing Christ to speak to men. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life! ».
Peter is there with Paul. Their two monumental statues framed the wide staircase in the shape of a terrace, accessible on a gentle slope in the center and flanked on the sides by two flights of twenty-two steps leading to the basilica. And, together with John the Baptist, there are the other eleven apostles who surround Christ, who dominates from the height of his stature the immense facade, above the inscription in memory of the Pope who completed the basilica: Paul V Borghese, pontiff of Rome, in the year 1612, the seventh of his reign.
After the signing of the “Lateran Pacts”, the large loggia was reopened by Pius XI in 1929 to impart the papal blessing “Urbi et Orbi” to the city and the world.
THE FACADE (Saint Peter’s Square, Visit the Basilica of St. Peter’s)
IT WOULD BE URBAN VIII to consecrate the new basilica, on November 18, 1626, for the thirteenth centenary, as mentioned, of the consecration of the basilica erected by Constantine. Its façade measures 115 meters in length and 45 meters in height. The diameter of its massive columns is 2.65 meters. And the giant statues of Christ and the apostles are 5.70 meters high. Under the clock on the left, the big bell measures 7.50 meters in circumference and weighs 9,300 tons. The whole comes alive in the golden light of the mountains, and even more so in the moonlight, if you have a slightly romantic soul.
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