St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), is one of the most beautiful and prominent buildings in Vatican City and its fabulous dome dominates most Roman skyline photographs. One of the largest churches in the world, it is a marvelous work of Renaissance architecture. Considered one of the holiest and greatest churches of all time, this place touched my soul while I experienced the history and beauty that surrounded me.

Several ah-ha moments came to mind while doing a little research before our trip. What amazed me most was when I discovered that according to Catholic Tradition, the Basilica is the burial site of St. Peter (Simon), one of the Apostles of Jesus. Strong historical evidence holds that St. Peter’s tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica, which has led many Popes to be laid to rest here as well.

According to Catholic Tradition, after the crucifixion of Jesus, St. Peter took a leadership position among Jesus’ followers and played an important role in the founding of the Christian Church. After a ministry of about thirty years, he travelled to Rome and was killed in the year 64 AD. The crucifixion took place near the Egyptian obelisk which was moved to stand in St. Peter’s Square as “witness” to Peter’s death.

I wish I had a better picture of the baldacchino because it was stunning. Visit this site for a photo of the baldacchino. More info follows.

“As a young boy Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) visited St. Peter’s with the painter Annibale Carracci and stated his wish to build “a mighty throne for the apostle”. His wish came true. As a young man, in 1626, he received the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and worked on the embellishment of the Basilica for 50 years. Appointed as Maderno’s successor in 1629, he was to become regarded as the greatest architect and sculptor of the Baroque period. Bernini’s works at St. Peter’s include the baldacchino, the Chapel of the Sacrament, the plan for the niches and loggias in the piers of the dome and the chair of St. Peter.

Bernini’s first work at St. Peter’s was to design the baldacchino, a pavilion-like structure 30 metres (98 ft) tall and claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world, which stands beneath the dome and above the altar. Its design is based on the ciborium, of which there are many in the churches of Rome, serving to create a sort of holy space above and around the table on which the Sacrament is laid for the Eucharist and emphasizing the significance of this ritual.” – READ MORE

Well, I can’t believe this day has finally come to an end. I’m exhausted just thinking about the time it took to recreate just one day during this fabulous Mediterranean Cruise.

Next stop: Monaco (Nice and Éze)

Happy trails,

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson

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