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

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Rome, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: Vatican Walking Tour  

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

Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's biggest religions, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each church and basilica represents a significant part of Rome's culture and history. Take the following tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk 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: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore Trastevere, the 13th rione (district) of Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin "trans Tiberim", literally "beyond the Tiber". Although the rione was established during the times of ancient Rome, it grew and formed as a true part of the city in the Middle Ages, as a result it is characterized...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
City Orientation Walk II

City Orientation Walk II

Rome's historic center is packed with so many landmarks and works of art, that it would take days to see it all. This walk highlights some of the most important architectural designs and landmarks built during the Renaissance and the Baroque, which are interspersed with a few timeless structures. The landmarks featured in this walk include the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Rome without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rome, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 km
Museums Walk

Museums Walk

As an ancient and cultural city, Rome is packed with museums which demonstrate its value in the world of culture and civilization. When it comes to art, Rome contains the most significant artifacts in the world, including sculptures, paintings, pottery, and porcelain; all hidden within the splendid palaces of the city. Take the following tour to better acquaint yourself with the splendors of Rome.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km

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