At 730 feet long, 500 feet wide and 452 feet high, St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest Catholic churches in the world, covering 22,000 square meters and having the capacity to hold 20,000 people. The symbolic value of St. Peter’s is very strong and attracts huge numbers of pilgrims from all over the world. According to an ancient city use, the church stands on the ruins of a Roman necropolis, on the site where St. Peter was probably buried around 67AD. In 320AD, Constantine decided to build a Basilica here. This required an impressive construction, which became the center of Christianity in the Middle Ages. In 1452, Pope Nicholas V decided that the church should be rebuilt, but it was only with Pope Julius II to bring the project to life in 1506. The Basilica was designed by Raffaello, Baldassare Peruzzi, Antonio de Sangallo, and Michelangelo.
St. Peter’s Basilica is surrounded by a spectacular collannade of 284 columns and 88 pillars that welcome the faithful who arrive in the heart of the Vatican City. Both the collannade and Basilica were the creation of Bernini, as well as the magnificent canopy of St. Peter, which can be found inside the Basilica. Also, admire the Pieta by Michelangelo, one of the greatest masterpieces of Western art. The magic of St. Peter’s Basilica does not end here. Be sure to look back at the dome of the basilica from Via Niccolo Piccolomini: due to its curious optical effect you will find that the further away you go, the more it zooms in.
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