Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter's Square

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Saint Peter's Square (, ) is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo).



History of St. Peter's Square

The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace" (Norwich 1975 p 175). Bernini had been working on the interior of St. Peter's for decades; now he gave order to the space with his renowned colonnades, using the Tuscan form of Doric, the simplest order in the classical vocabulary, not to compete with the palace-like façade by Carlo Maderno, but he employed it on an unprecedented colossal scale to suit the space and evoke emotions awe.



The site's possibilities were under many constraints from existing structures (illustration, right). The massed accretions of the Vatican Palace crowded the space to the right of the basilica's façade; the structures needed to be masked without obscuring the papal apartments. The obelisk marked a center, and a granite fountain by Carlo MadernoIt was set up in 1613 by order of Paul V stood to one side: Bernini made the fountain appear to be one of the foci of the ellipseThe actual foci are marked...
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