St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. It is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites and has been described as the greatest of all churches in Christendom. St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage.
In Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St Peter's since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626.
St. Peter's is also an extraordinary museum and it is impossible to estimate the priceless worth of the infinite works of art that can be found here. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Many prestigious architects and artists of the time were involved with the construction of St. Peter's, but it was first Donato Bramante and then Michelangelo who created the revolutionary plant of the new construction. Bramante built the immense central body in the form of a Greek cross held up by four gigantic pillars. Michelangelo was the designer of the 'cuppolone', and he was also responsible for the simple, yet majestic exterior with its gigantic columns crowned by a very evident horizontal fascia. In the end, it was Carlo Maderno who lengthened the central nave of the church and erected the monumental façade. An imposing construction that was as big as a football field and as high as a thirteen-story building, crowned with the colossal statues of Jesus, Giovanni Battista and the apostles.