My Pictures of St. Peter's Square

Piazza San Pietro - the massive ellipse formed by St. Peter's Square

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St. Peter's Square, designed by Bernini, an ellipse formed by the intersection of two circles joined together.
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It is said the Renaissance use of the ellipse was inspired by the Colosseum as a model.
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In 1655, Pope Alexander VII commissioned Bernini to design a monumental square in front of the recently completed basilica.
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Bernini had several obstacles to overcome: giving the overpowering church facade greater breadth while hiding the irregularly placed buildings of the Vatican palace, as well as harmoniously incorporating the obelisk which was re-erected in front of the basilica in 1586.
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Bernini's solution was to design a piazza in the form of an ellipse, the foci of the ellipse are indicated by marble and granite disks embedded within the pavement of the piazza (here in the lower left corner).
The elliptical shape also symbolizes the Church's embrace of all of mankind, "the motherly arms of the church," as Bernini described his Colonnade.
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From the foci, the columns of the portico align in such a way as to give the illusion that only a single colonnade exits rather than the actual four. Bernini planned the colonnade design by drawing chalk lines, and possibly using strings to carefully predict the visual illusions.
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Centro del Colonnaio - Center of the Colonnade. The long axis of the ellipse is 650 feet across - marked by three monuments: two fountains and an Egyptian obelisk in the center that had served as a turning post in the chariot races at the nearby ancient Circus of Nero, where St. Peter was crucified.
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The quadruple colonnade which borders the piazza form a portico wide enough to let carriages pass through.
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Looking across the piazza from inside the colonnade, composed of 284 Doric columns, carved from Roman travertine, arranged in a series of four rows.
There are 140 statues of saints and martyrs while are atop the balustrade of the ellipse.

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