The Campidoglio https://roma-bella.com/tours/rome-on-scooter/ square is Michelangelo’s masterpiece as an Architect, created just after he conclude the Last Judgement (1541) in the Sistine chapel. In the pope Paul III’s intention had to become Rome’s civic centre not only ritually but visually. The space that Michelangelo saw was informed and chaotic, still with a medieval shape.
His proposal was first to create a classic layout, symmetrical, in fact he suggested the construction of a new building, the Palazzo Nuovo,https://roma-bella.com/tours/rome-museums/ that would fulfil his purpose. This resulting new space ought to be opened as a telescope toward the “papal street” that meandering through the different neighbourhoods would arrive to the Vatican. The ramp designed was an invitation for those coming from the Rome’s XVI century centre as well as those pilgrims that from the Vatican were heading toward the civic centre.
Michelangelo’s space was conceived for the people as a dynamic space, in fact his pavement design departing from a 12 edges star would expand the space through the sequence of rhombus up to the square edges and would extol Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue.
Moreover, Michelangelo curated each detail, like the proportion of the new façades for the symmetrical buildings, recalling the ancient basilicas and the decoration of the entire space, to reinforce the architecture. Several ancient sculptures were selected accurately by Michelangelo like the two fluvial lounging figures matching with the ramps , Minerva’s sculpture as a column of the Senate entrance and the two magnificent sculptures of Castor and Polux, facing today, the Vatican, differently to Michelangelo’s conception: to flanked the people’s arrival.
St. Peter’s square https://roma-bella.com/tours/vatican-city/ is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding architectural spaces in Rome. But this astonishing square, as most of the historical sites of the eternal city, “was not built in one day”. Not because its construction lasted 11 years (1656-1667) but because the square is the result of centuries of changes, additions, transformations to the original IV century basilica that in the XVI century had become a chaotic entrance to the Basilica dedicated to the first Pope of Rome: St. Peter.
In this first 1577 engrave created by the artist Lefrery you can appreciate that the Constantinian basilica (IV century) façade, after centuries of transformations had become an addition of different buildings, hights and styles. In the background is appearing a round volume: is the new St. Peter’s Basilica created by Bramante in the XVI century, conceived with a dome. On this second 1588-90 engrave by Cesare Nebbia, there is an Egyptian obelisk that creates a certain order in the chaotic space. This obelisk is part of wide urban plan created in Rome by Pope Sixtus V’s architect: Domenico Fontana.
With the Council of Trent (1545-1563) who produced the counter reform within the catholic church, many new rules were issued, including the artistic ones: the new churches had to transform their layout into the shape of the Latin cross. St. Peter’s basilica who have had a Greek cross layout was extended under Carlo Maderno’s new project. The new façade as a unity was inaugurated in 1612, without the 2 belfries, built some years later (1640) but then demolished.
The breakthrough arrived with the master Gian Lorenzo Bernini who crowned St. Peter’s Basilica with this brilliant creation. He was able to unify all the different inputs around the Basilica: arrival, Papal palace entrance, basilica entrance, proportion, human scale. St. Peter’s square protects and connects the devoted visitors with the Dome, symbol of the kingdom of heaven. The two colonnades are the arms of the church embracing the faithful in an endless gesture of love.
In yellow all the buildings that were demolished to create the square.
Nolli’s plan created in 1748 showing the square before the fascist government intervention to create Via della Conciliazione.
Hope you are well!
It’s Amanda (and Terry, Jude and Sol) here from Sydney. We arrived back about a week ago and are settling back into routine and awfully hot humid weather! Finally had a few moments to sit down at the computer so wanted to send you a quick note to thank you very much for your amazing and personal service with the Ancient Rome and Vatican tours we attended with you earlier in January. We all agreed that you were the best guide we had the whole time we were away! Your knowledge and warmth was so appreciated. You were also so patient with the boys and read their behaviour well and tailored everything as needed. Thank you, we loved it!
We all loved the Colosseum tour too even though we didn’t get to see it with you. We were very fortunate that we had a very passionate archaeologist leading our tour who did a great job – and it was perfect having your added insight prior.
Here’s a few photos from the visits – a couple with you, and I apologise to that I don’t think I asked your permission to take these first. I love the view over the rooftops – you took us to the best location for that! It’s great that you can’t see the Piazza Venezia in view like you do from most other locations 😉
There is much more than just beautiful panoramas and stunning attractions in Rome: be ready to taste some of the most wonderful dishes you ever had.
There are not only main dishes that you should try: today I am going to tell you about the beautiful desserts that await in a bakery. Stop over when going through the busy streets of Rome.
What a fabulous couple of days
You made our trip so special !
Let’s hope we meet again
Regional Vice President Hotel Operations – Canada