After spending hours at the Vatican Museums, our next stop was St. Peter’s Basilica. It was a dream of mine to visit this church and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to do so.
According to Sacred Destinations:
St. Peter’s Basilica is a major basilica in Vatican City, an enclave of Rome. St. Peter’s was until recently the largest church ever built and it remains one of the holiest sites in Christendom. Contrary to what one might reasonably assume, St. Peter’s is not a cathedral – that honor in Rome goes to St. John Lateran.
Inside the basilica, one can see Michelangelo’s great dome and Bernini’s Baldacchino directly below it. This monumental canopy shelters the papal altar and the holy relics of St. Peter. Click here to read more about the different areas found inside the basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter – the apostle who is considered the first pope – was crucified and buried. St. Peter’s tomb is under the main altar and many other popes are buried in the basilica as well. Originally founded by Constantine in 324, St. Peter’s Basilica was rebuilt in the 16th century by Renaissance masters including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini. (Sacred Destinations)
Directly in front of the basilica is St. Peter’s Square.
According to the Vatican City State website:
Designed and built by Bernini between 1656 and 1667, during the pontificate of Alexander VII (1655-1667), the square is made up of two different areas. The first has a trapezoid shape, marked off by two straight closed and convergent arms on each side of the church square. The second area is elliptical and is surrounded by the two hemicycles of a four-row colonnade, because, as Bernini said, “considering that Saint Peter’s is almost the matrix of all the churches, its portico had to give an open-armed, maternal welcome to all Catholics, confirming their faith; to heretics, reconciling them with the Church; and to the infidels, enlightening them about the true faith.”
We also passed by Ponte Sant’Angelo and Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian’s Mausoleum).
Again, thank you to Tita Christine, Tita Anabella, Sister Pierette and Sister Bel for touring us around Rome.
For more posts about our European adventures, click on the following:
- Madrid (Day 1 & 2)
- Barcelona (Day 1, 2, 3)
- Sagrada Familia
- Marseille & Aix-en-Provence
- Pisa & Florence
- Mediterranean Cruise Experience
- Rome (Vatican Museums)