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Piazza San Pietro

St. Peter's Square is the square outside the basilica of St. Peter and it is dedicated to the saint. The square is part of Vatican City. The main access is the street of conciliation. The space of the square consists in two parts: the first trapezoidal side which corresponds to the facade with more specific motivation prospective, the second, larger, oval-shaped with the Vatican obelisk in the center. The two large spaces are unified by an imposing colonnade architraves. The large oval colonnade has always been considered the figure of two large arms that wrap around maternally the faithful. Given the increasing affluence, the square has become the favorite place for great liturgical ceremonies presided over by pope.

History: In early of the sixteenth century the square was rectangular, with no floor. Pope Alexander VI opened the first new road rectilinear to Rome, between the Ponte Sant'Angelo and the door of the Vatican Palace, Via Alessandrina. Pius IV in the mid-sixteenth century expands on the two sides the square. Sixtus V carried up in front of the basilica, in the center of the square, the Egyptian obelisk. The problem was to transform it into a monumental space and representative. The first solution elaborated by Bernini was the project of a trapezoidal square closed between the facades of buildings. So the first project in 1657 was succeeded by another with free porticoes of arcs on columns to form a large oval piazza colonnades with architraves. The 162 statues of saints - each in correspondence of a column, represents the multitude of the faithful in prayer in the square. The complex form made it difficult to align the columns and the conformation of the order. In fact, the largest continuous order of the square is Doric in vertical supports (columns) and roughly in the Ionic trabeation. This implies that the proportions of the slim columns and intercolumns on the inside of the square are near to those of the Corinthian, while outside, more massive, are compatible with the Doric. The square was completed in 1667.

The basilica of St. Peter is a Catholic basilica in Vatican City and it is the largest of the papal basilicas of Rome. The basilica is one of the largest buildings in the world, a length of 218 meters and 136 meters high to the cupola, the total area is about 23,000 square meters. The facade is preceded by two statues representing St. Peter and St. Paul. On the top are placed the statues of Jesus, John Baptist and eleven of the twelve apostles (St. Peter's missing). The central nave is 90 meters long, 26 meters large and about 45 meters high. It is covered by a wide turn and culminates behind the colossal baldachin of St. Peter's Cathedra in the monumental. Until the intersection with the transect, in the niches in the pillars on the right side of the entrance, there are statues of various saints. In the first chapel on the right, is the famous Pieta by Michelangelo. The cupola is 136 meters high and 42 meters in diameter. Four enormous pillars supporting all structure, whose weight is estimated at 14,000 tonnes. The space under the cupola is marked by a monumental baldachin of St. Peter, created by the genius of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and erected in 1633. The baldachin is almost 30 meters high and it is supported by four spiral columns. At the center of the wall behind the baldachin, there is a monumental bronze reliquary, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini represents a dove illuminated.

History: The construction of the basilica of St. Peter was begun in 1506 under Pope Julius II and was completed in 1626, during the pontificate of Pope Urban VIII. Before, there was a necropolis where the tradition says that St. Peter, the first of the apostles of Jesus, was buried after his crucifixion. The work was given to Donato Bramante, who designed a Greek cross plan, and characterized by a large hemispheric cupola in the center. The great cupola was inspired by the Pantheon. Succeeded Bramante, Raphael, and after his death, succeeded him as first architect Antonio da Sangallo with Baldassarre Peruzzi. After Sangallo, the direction of the work there was Michelangelo Buonarroti, by now seventy years old at the time. Therefore, Michelangelo returned to the central plan of the original project, so as to give greater emphasis the impact of the cupola.
In 1564 the cupola was not finished yet. Giacomo Della Porta was to perform the completion in 1590. Pope Clement VIII gave the direction of the works to Carlo Maderno, who was commissioned to complete the basilica with the addition of a long structure consists of three bays and a porch on the facade. Immediately after the nave, Maderno also designed the facade. The basilica was consecrated by Pope Urban VIII in 1626.

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