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Saint Peter's Basilica


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wow architecture

Published by Șchiopu Monica — 9 days ago

Remembering Rome: The Saint Peter’s Basilica

Another main attraction of the italian capital of which I remember from time to time is the Saint Peter’s Basilica. Located in the Vatican city, the building is probably one of the most known buildings in the world, myself learning about it in my high school and at the art history univesity clases.

For me, it was a goal to get to see this large basilica because I was impressed by it for the first time I studyied about it.

The Saint Peter's Square

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So, here I am, in Rome and in the Vatican city having in front of my eyes the tall construction named after the Apostle Peter. The Square with the same name opens up widely creating, due to its shape a welcoming and protective feeling for the visitors and also for the church.

The Square is formed by rows of strong columns that are dividing the area of it containing the entrance to the basilica from the rest of the space around and outside the Vatican City. In the center of it are placed an egyptian obelisk and two fountaines. 

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The Saint Peter’s Square has been designed in a way that gets the people in, holds them for a bit in front of the church’s construction and then guides them inside of the basilica without wanting to let go of the good people. This is how I can describe the feeling that I am get while experiencing the place.

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Discussing different aspects of the basilica while waiting in a long line 

On the right side of the square there are many people waiting in a long line to enter the Saint Peter’s Basilica. I attach myself to the line and I am not alone but with my friends that I am travelling with.

Even if we would have to wait kind of a lot to get in, during this time we are not bored because there are plenty of things belonging to the construction of the basilica and square to look at and discuss about.

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Because all of us, excepting one friend are art students, we start to talk about the history of the building and about which artists had been working for the huge Ansamble of Vatican.

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We are looking at the elements trying to name them as well as their role in the construction. The one architectural element that stands out from the rest is the dome of the basilica.

We remember that the famous italian renainsance artist Michelangelo Buonarotti had been involved in the proiection and design of it, while the main facade was created by Maderno who imagined a giant order of Corinthian columns. On top of the facade are rising 13 statues representing the body of Christ followed by the Apostles.

Inside the great Basilica of Saint Peter: what a beautiful marble! 

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After we pass the security which by the way makes a very strict security control, we finally enter the enourmous basilica. All of us are overhelmed of what is to be seen and we actually don’t know where to look first and on what part to focus our view because there are so many beautiful and well thought elements of the ceilings, walls, altar, floors, pillars, arches, everything.

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I get caught by the floor pretty fast. The shapes and colors of the marble remainds me of paintings and are so interesting and so on my taste. It is like every piece of the marble is a new painting naturally made by nature in an abstract but wonderful manner. I stepp on the nice floor made out of marble, looking constantly up and down to the paintings of the ceiling and to the ones that I image over the marble.

Pieta, the famous sculpture of Michelangelo

If I remember well, because there are so many artworks in the Basilica, on the right side of it, as I enter is exhibited "Pieta", a Renaissance sculpture created by Michelangelo and protected here by a glass window, a thing that shows the importance and value of the work.

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The masterpiece represents the Virgin Mary holding his Son's body, Jesus, after the crucifixion that He had been through. The compostion of the statue is very powerful and unlike any other three dimensional work from that period. Usually, in the other Renaissance images, Mary holds the baby Jesus and not the adult body. Thus, the representation is more dramatic, Jesus's corpse hanging heavy in the arms of his suffering mother.

Even if I cannot see the sculpture from up close, the attention of details that Michelangelo was capable of is strongly visible in the way he carved out the forms of each element belonging to artwork starting with the portraits, the naked body and the clothes of Mary. 

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The Baldachin of Bernini 

I stamble across an element that I expected and really wanted to see inside the basilica, more exactly, The Baldachin of Bernini, an outrougeous structure positioned near the altar.

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Cast in bronze, the baldachin has a role of creating a holy space above and around the table on which the Sacrament is laid for the Eucharist. The columns of the construction are like nothing I have seen before being twisted and decorated with laurel leaves and bees.

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Stepping on the roof of the Dome 

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I don’t know how exactly but after I wander around looking up and down and feeling small in this giant construction, I find a way to get up and out of the roof of the dome. The view is spectacular and it opens a wide image over the Piazza, the Vatican City with its gardens and the entire Rome.

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The landscape is dominated by red, earthy toned roofs of the old architectural buildings creating an idylic urban aspect.

The shape of the Saint Peter’s Square is strongly visible depicting two hands like structures which are trying to collect the visitors in and towards the interior of the church.

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I can’t get enough of the view even if there is a moody, cloudy day outside and somehow I cannot believe that I am actually standing on the roof of Saint Peter Basilica, the largest christian church in this huge world. What an exciting dream!

Meeting the large statues positioned on the roof 

I find a way to the lower roof where I meet the statues I was talking about earlier, those which are placed on the facade. I can get very close to the sculptures and I notice how tall are all of them and also how beautifully carved. It is such a wow and overhelming experience to be here.

While I am on top of the roof I start to remember some scenes from the movies “DaVinci’s Code” and “Angels and Demons” which action take place in these spaces.

Even if I want to spend more time admiring the landscape over the city and its surroundings is getting raining and late and on my friends and I plan there are other attraction where we have to go.

On the way back to the Saint Peter’s Square and then outside of it I am trying to take in as much as I can from all of the art and architecture elements that come in my way. If you are in Rome I strongly recommend you to visit the Saint Peter’s Basilica.


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