St. Peter's Square, Rome

St. Peter's Square, Rome (must see)

Saint Peter’s Square is the most famous square in the world. It is also an architectural and engineering masterpiece and no visitor to Rome should miss visiting it.

The square was redesigned between 1657 and 1667 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who was already working on the Basilica. Pope Alexander VII wanted the piazza in front of St Peter’s Basilica to be a place where everyone could see him, but not too grand to distract from the Basilica itself.

Bernini designed the square to be partially surrounded by curved and covered colonnades, 196 metres wide and 148 metres long. The colonnades are supported by 284 Doric style columns set in four rows. On top of each colonnade are statues of various martyrs and saints.

Pope Sixtus V had the obelisk in the centre of the square moved here from the Circus of Nero in 1586 by Domenico Fontana. In 1817 circular stones were laid to mark the shadow of the obelisk’s tip at noon.

The cobblestone paving is broken up by travertine lines radiating out from the obelisk. At each end of the colonnades stands a fountain; one was built by Carlo Maderno in 1614, the other by Bernini in 1667. Between each fountain and the obelisk, you will see a round slab of porphyry. If you stand on one of these slabs and look at the columns, you will be struck by a startling optical illusion: it seems that there is only one row of columns instead of four!

The square is the focal point of pilgrimages and over 300,000 people gather here every year to hear the Pope’s Easter speech. Three flights of steps lead from the square to the Basilica.

Why You Should Visit:
The architectures surrounding the square are simply amazing. It is also a great place for taking pictures, even if you do not plan to walk into the Basilica or the Vatican museum.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rome. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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St. Peter's Square on Map

Sight Name: St. Peter's Square
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Holy Sites Walking Tour

Holy Sites Walking Tour

As the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's largest organizations, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each of its churches and basilicas represent a significant part of culture and history.

Take this self-guided walking tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage,...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 Km or 4.3 Miles
Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

In Rome there is a lively piazza round almost every corner, each with its own unique atmosphere and its own story to tell. These public squares have been the center of Roman culture for centuries, and some of the city’s most popular attractions are located within them.

Most piazzas have a fountain in the center and a lot of cafes around. In fact, Rome holds the largest number of fountains in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

A movie beloved by generations of people, "Roman Holiday" (1953) was filmed entirely in Rome and starred two of Hollywood's greatest icons: Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The romantic comedy would go on to earn three Oscars, including a best actress trophy for Hepburn, who is entirely sympathetic in a role that could have been off-putting. The main storyline centers on a day of...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 Km or 5.6 Miles
Rome Introduction Walking Tour I

Rome Introduction Walking Tour I

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus who were raised by a she-wolf. However, the pair argued about who had the support of the gods, and Romulus ended up killing Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill. Thus, Romulus named the city after himself and declared himself as king.

In a slightly less glorious account, Rome actually began as an Iron Age...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Rome Introduction Walking Tour II

Rome Introduction Walking Tour II

The historic center of Rome is packed with numerous landmarks and genuine works of art, to see all of which may take days if not weeks. This Rome Introduction Walk II highlights some of the key sights emerged during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, comprising some truly magnificent marvels of architecture. Among the featured landmarks here are the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Food Tasting Walking Tour

Food Tasting Walking Tour

Whether it’s a long lunch or a stop-off for an ice cream on an evening stroll, eating in Rome is a very social activity. Culinary traditions run deep here, and it may well be one of Italy’s most pleasurable cities in which to eat. Deli shops, prosciutterias, pizzerias, fornos (bakeries) and caffès are also very popular and offer a great alternative to a restaurant meal.

On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles

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