Tag Archives: St. Peter’s Basilica

Insights into the Vatican in Italy: UNESCO’s Holy City near Rome

St. Peter's Square in the early morning.

Image via Wikipedia

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside S...

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Façade of St. Peter's Basilica as see...

English: Façade of St. Peter’s Basilica as seen from Saint Peter’s Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Crepuscular rays in Saint Peter's Bas...

English: Crepuscular rays in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A 5x6 segment panoramic image taken b...

English: A 5×6 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens from the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican City in Rome. Français: Image panoramique composée de 5×6 photos prises par David Iliff à l’aide d’un appareil Canon 5D et une lentille 70-200mm f/2.8L à partir du dôme de la Basilique Saint-Pierre au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state and occupies 109 acres. It has been a sovereign state since 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.

The Vatican is the  residence of the spiritual leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Its territory is surrounded by the Italian capital city Rome. Priests and nuns make up most of the population.

The Vatican City is a small remnant of the former Papal States of central Italy. These Papal States were conquered by the forces of Italian unification in the mid-19th century.  At that time, the popes became “prisoners in the Vatican”.

They were unwilling to leave the confines of the Apostolic Palace until 1929. Finally, the Italian Fascist government negotiated the Lateran Treaty that created the current mini-state.

Francis, the current pope is the first Latin American to be elected to the position. Formerly archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who reigned from 2005 until 2013.

 

Swiss Guards, dressed in traditional ceremonial dress, are responsible for the security of the Pope

 

Pilgrimage

The Vatican City itself packs many imposing buildings into its small area: St Peter’s Basilica (completed in the early 17th century) and the Vatican Museums and Art Galleries that are repositories of the priceless art collections of the popes.

Pilgrims travel from all over the world to gather in St Peter’s Square for various ceremonies, such as this beatification of Pope John Paul II in May 2011.

Magnificent works of art are housed in the Holy City. Rome’s grand churches were built in the following order: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical.  Most of the exquisite Baroque monuments and buildings were erected during the 16th and 17th centuries. Many ancient churches have received newer facades.

Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410...

Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410_by_JN_Sylvestre_1890. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On May 6, 1527, the Sack of Rome was perpetrated by German Lutheran and Spanish Catholic troops who resented the wealth of the papacy. The soliers entered the Vatican as Pope Clement VII was saying a mass in the Sistine Chapel. Swiss Guards were being slaughtered in St. Peter’s Square and the pope was brought to safety in Castel Sant’Angelo.

Sack of Rome of 1527

Sack of Rome of 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be the buria...

St. Peter’s Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica from the River Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Christianity became the dominant religion of Western Civilization when the Roman Empire converted to Christianity. St. Peter’s Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber. Saint Peter’s Basilica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) joined the Christians and before he moved to Constantinople he built several churches in Rome. San Giovanni in Laterano, St. Peter’s Basilica and San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura were all built during Constantine’s reign. Talent and leadership abandoned the newly divided empire and successive waves of Barbarians invaded Rome including the Visigoths, Vandals and the Ostrogoths. By 800 AD, Emperor Charlemagne asserted papal authority and launched another power struggle between the Church and imperial authority. By 1309, the pope moved to the safety of Avignon.

Tomb of pope Julius II by Michelangelo, church...

Tomb of pope Julius II by Michelangelo, church San Pietro in Vincoli; Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome’s imperial legacy lived on in the Catholic Church where Roman senators became bishops, scholars became monks, and philosophers became theologians. The pope or high priest adopted the title originally held by the emperor; “Pontifex Maximus.” Look for this word in the Latin inscriptions in Rome. The grandeur of church rituals is reminiscent of the glory days of Julius Caesar.

The papacy’s supremacy returned to Rome in 1377. In the 1500’s, a glorious rebirth of Rome flourished when the popes invited the most talented architects, painters and sculptors to rebuild Rome’s grandeur during the Renaissance. On April 18, 1506 Pope Julius II (Giuliano Della Rovere) laid the cornerstone for the new Basilica of Saint Peter. Saint Peter’s magnificent basilica was built above the site where Peter the Apostlewas crucified, martyred and buried in the year 64.

Ancient statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Bas...

Ancient statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Possibly the work of Atnolfo di Cambio. Thought by some historians to be much older. Crop of original pic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro...

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. Ελληνικά: Λεπτομέρεια από την νωπογραφία του Πιέτρο Περουτζίνο, Ο Χριστός Παραδίδει τα Κλειδιά στον Πέτρο, 335 x 600 cm, Καπέλα Σιξτίνα, Πόλη του Βατικανού. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1506, Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica, originally built by Constantine from 324-329. Emperor Constantine built a glorious crown for St. Peter’s tomb over the site where his bones were preserved. St. Peter was the first apostle and the first pope. Since Rome is a place of pilgrimage, a “Scave Tour” is available with advanced reservations and allows you to visit the tomb of St. Peter and the archeological excavations beneath the basilica. Travel from the Baroque church to the Romanesque sanctuary to the Roman cemetery and tomb of Peter the Apostle. The crypt is located under the Papal Altar.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides At www.vino-con-vista.com

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

English: Bernini’s “Gloria” surmounting the “Cathedra Petri”, also by him. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My Glorious Vino Con Vista Weekend in Rome: Non Basta una Vita

Pietro Perugino's usage of perspective in this...

Pietro Perugino’s usage of perspective in this fresco at the Sistine Chapel (1481 82) helped bring the Renaissance to Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basili...

English: Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Dome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This panorama, shot from the top of St. Peter'...

This panorama, shot from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, shows pretty much all that there is to Vatican City. Taken during our recent trip to Rome. Stitched from 4 handheld shots. The corners are missing, but I didn’t want to crop it any more than I already did… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you follow my posts, you already know that I love Rome! The glorious city of Rome is adorned with spectacular historic sites, sumptuous fountains, magnificent art treasures, charming cafes and world-class restaurants and hotels.

 

 

Michelangelo-pieta

If you are traveling to Rome for a weekend, here’s a list of my favorite attractions for a “Glorious Vino con Vista” weekend in Rome. But remember that the Italians say: ‘non basta una vita’, “a lifetime is not enough” to visit 28 centuries of history!

 

Chair of Saint Peter

Chair of Saint Peter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jump on the Hop-on, Hop-off  Bus and visit the following sites:

 

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

Image via Wikipedia

1. Rome is filled with incredible historic monuments! Pay tribute to the Papacy in the Vatican City formerly ruled by Pope Benedict XVI and presently lead by newly elected Pope Francis. Vatican City is the world’s smallest sovereign country in both land mass and population. It serves as the spiritual headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church.

 

English: Bernini's baldacchino, inside Saint P...

English: Bernini’s baldacchino, inside Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square, Rome ...

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome (2007). Polski: Papież Benedykt XVI podczas Audiencji Generalnej na Placu św. Piotra w Rzymie (2007). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St Peter’s Basilica with its famous dome is one of the highlights of Rome’s skyline. This area is one of my favorite “Vino-con Vista” destinations in Rome.  The impressive architecture in this area offers a host of cafés and shops where you can buy rosary beads and interesting frames filled with pictures or Popes. My sons joke about all of my Pope frames.

 

Florence, Rome, Perugia

Florence, Rome, Perugia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

English: Bernini’s “Gloria” surmounting the “Cathedra Petri”, also by him. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 5x6 segment panoramic image taken by myself ...

A 5×6 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens from the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican City in Rome. Français: Image panoramique composée de 5×6 photos prises par David Iliff à l’aide d’un appareil Canon 5D et une lentille 70-200mm f/2.8L à partir du dôme de la Basilique Saint-Pierre au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tomb of Pope Alexander VII, by Gianlorenzo...

Image via Wikipedia

Wait in line at Saint Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Pieta and the incredible dome. Admire Bernini‘s Monument to Pope Alexander VII and take pictures and videos with your iPad of Bernini’s monumental bronze Baldachinno (canopy) over the Tomb of Saint Peter.

 

English: Interior of St. Peter's Basilica in V...

English: Interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome Česky: Uvnitř Baziliky svatého Petra, Vatikán, Řím (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do not leave Rome without seeing these sites! Send some postcards from the post office as you soak up the Baroque genius in this magical city.

 

The Last Judgement

Image via Wikipedia

2. Wander through the Papal Palaces at the Vatican Museums and admire the beauty the Sistine Chapel.

 

The left half of the entire ceiling, after res...

The left half of the entire ceiling, after restoration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelangelo’s contributions to the remarkable Sistine Chapel include his legendary Last Judgement and the spectacular frescoed ceiling. “The Last Judgement” depicts the division of the damned from the redeemed. Jesus commands the center of the wall with his right arm raised over his head. Under that raised arm, his mother Mary is crouched at his side. Saint Bartholomew, with his flayed skin, has the face of Michelangelo and is seated in front of Jesus.

 

Watch this short clip: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1kpcQm/:1cmVYfe2n:Z1jzCq$!/www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html/

 

The ceiling vault depicts nine scenes from the book of Genesis beginning at the altar end of the chapel: The Separation of Light from Darkness, The Creation of the Sun and the Moon, The Separation of Land from Water, The Creation of Adam, The Creation of Eve, and The Temptation of Adam and Eve combined in one panel with the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Then there is the Sacrifice of Abel, The Flood and finally, The Drunkenness of Noah. He painted the entire ceiling lying on his back.

 

Do not miss the Raphael Rooms. Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483. In 1508, he was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II to decorate the papal apartments in the Vatican Palace. The first room he tackled was the Pope’s Library and office called the Stanza della Segnatura. This room has my favorite work of art by Raphael called “The School of Athens.”

 

A Escola de Atenas, afresco no Vaticano

A Escola de Atenas, afresco no Vaticano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The themes he selected were Theology, Poetry, Philosophy and Jurisprudence. “The School of Athens” fresco represents “Philosophy.” It is filled with figures of people thinking, writing, arguing and reading. Basically, it represents a gathering of intellectuals where everyone is engaged in learning.

 

The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza ...

The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plato is in the center under the arch (on the left) in the red toga with his finger pointing upward toward the sky. He is demonstrating that all ideal concepts are found in the heavens; as he believed that we should aspire to imitate the divine. He’s holding a copy of “Timaeus.” The close-up shot of Plato, has the face of  Leonardo da Vinci.

 

I found the numbered picture in a Twitter post by art historian Jeff Titelius. I think you will find the description of the cast of characters quite intellectually stimulating.

 

1: Zeno of Citium 2: Epicurus 3: unknown 4: Boethius or Anaximander or Empedocles? 5: Averroes 6: Pythagoras 7: Alcibiades or Alexander the Great? 8: Xenophon 9: unknown [14][13] or the Fornarina as a personification of Love [15] or (Francesco Maria della Rovere?) 10: Aeschines or Xenophon? 11: Parmenides? 12: Socrates 13: Heraclitus (Michelangelo) 14: Plato (Leonardo da Vinci) 15: Aristotle 16: Diogenes 17: Plotinus (Donatello?) 18: Euclid with students (Bramante?) 19: Zoroaster 20: Ptolemy? R: Apelles (Raphael) 21: Protogenes (Il Sodoma, Perugino, or Timoteo Viti). Photo: WikiMedia Commons.

Standing next to Plato, Aristotle (in blue) is holding his book inscribed “Nicomachean Ethics” in his left hand with his right hand pointing forward.

 

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the right foreground of the scene, Euclid is drawing a geometrical figure with his protractor, but his face is really Bramante.

 

A Greek mathematician performing a geometric c...

A Greek mathematician performing a geometric construction with a compass, from The School of Athens by Raphael. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The School of Athens ( )

The School of Athens ( ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the steps to the left is Pythagoras, writing in a book. In front of him, with his head resting on his hand and sitting alone in the forefront is “Heraclitus” with the pencil in his right hand. He has the face of Michelangelo.

 

Raphael- School of Athens, detail showing R's ...

Raphael- School of Athens, detail showing R’s portrait of Michelangelo as Heraclitus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each significant philosopher in the “School of Athens” has an group of eager listeners. Pope Julius II definitely picked the right artist for his office! Raphael is peeriing directly at you in the close-up on the right. He is shown on the right side of Zoroaster, who is holding the globe on the left of Raphael.

 

Detail of The School of Athens by Raphael, 150...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509, showing Zoroaster (left, with star-studded globe). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detail from The School of Athens by Raffaello ...

Detail from The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, maybe an illustration of Hypatia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A 4x4 segment panorama of the Coliseu...

Image via Wikipedia

3.  The ancient ruins are perhaps the most impressive and incredible sights in the city! Tour the Colloseum‘s interior and follow the footsteps of the gladiators as you witness this feat of Roman engineering; a driveby approach will not suffice! This  breathtaking and insightful icon of both gladiators and Emperors reflects ancient Rome.

 

Ruins of the Roman Forum

Ruins of the Roman Forum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Go to the Forum which is located right next to the Colloseum. Imagine Julius Ceasar and Mark Anthony giving historic speeches at this monumental venue. It was the quintessential Roman Marketplace in its heyday!

 

Pantheon, Rome, Raphael's tomb.

Pantheon, Rome, Raphael’s tomb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The famous set of columns from the Roman Forum...

The famous set of columns from the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Image via Wikipedia

5. The Pantheon‘s classic architecture allows you to visit the tombs of historic European icons such as Popes and Italian Kings.

 

Raphael is buried in a niche in the Pantheon which reads: “The man here is Raphael; while he was alive, the Great Mother of All Things (Nature) feared to be outdone; and when he died, she, too, feared to die.”

 

Marvel at the masterpieces that adorn the circular wall and look up at the oculus that opens to the sky and sheds light throughout the magnificent structure. Originally, the great dome was sheathed in gilded bronze.

 

A 5x5 segment panorama taken by myself with a ...

Image via Wikipedia

Rome-pantheon

 

6. Throw a coin (over your shoulder) and make a wish in one of the world’s most famous fountains: the Trevi Fountain. Admire the ornate sculpture over the glistening water. This will guarantee a return trip to Rome. Next time, stay for atleast a week.

 

The Palazzo Poli forms the  backdrop to the magnificent Trevi Fountain. This Palazzo is home to a major collection of copper engraving plates.

 

The 18th-century Trevi Fountain at night.

The 18th-century Trevi Fountain at night. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Rome...

Image via Wikipedia

7. Climb the widest staircase in Europe at the Spanish Steps. These beautiful steps join Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. Climb the Spanish Steps to enjoy a tour the magnificent hotels that lead to the Via Venato.

 

English: The Spanish Steps, Fontana della Barc...

Image via Wikipedia

Admire Bernini’s Boat Fountain at the base of the stairs before strolling along Via Condotti and buying some elegant designer shoes, purses and clothing.

 

Fountain of the Four Rivers

8. Do not leave Rome without visiting Piazza Navona. This is one of the best Baroque Vino con Vista Venues in town. Although the glorious city of Rome is adorned with spectacular fountains; some of my favorites are located in this Square including the Fountain of the Four Rivers, The Fountain of the Moor and Neptune’s Fountain.

 

Rome

Rome (Photo credit: Mathew Knott)

Fountain in Piazza Navona

Some of Rome’s fountains support obelisks and others anchor famous piazzas. The dramatic fountains in Piazza Navona host a cast of interesting characters that generally spew water from their mouths. The basins are shaped in the form of chalices and decorative elements including dolphins, tritons, theatrical masks and shells. This Piazza is filled with delightful cafes and live music!

 

 

 

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com. Buon Viaggio!!!!!

 

 

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Filed under Best Attractions in Rome, Italy Travel Guides, Top attractions in Rome Italy, Weekend in Rome

Silent Night Holy Night: A Vatican Christmas

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...
Image via Wikipedia

Rome became the fulcrum of Western spiritual life in the 4th century. The grandeur of church rituals is reminiscent of the glory days of Julius Caesar. Roman senators became bishops, scholars became monks and philosophers became theologians. The pope or high priest adopted the title held by the emperor, “Pontifex Maximus”. Look for this word in the Latin inscriptions throughout Rome.

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican...

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican in which Jesus = Mithras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The re-birth of Rome can be traced to April 18, 1506 when Pope Julius II (Giuliano Della Rovere) laid the cornerstone for the new Basilica of Saint Peter to be built over the old Basilica of St. Peter. Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica, originally built by Constantine between 324-329.

In the Clementine Chapel in the Vatican Grottos under the Basilica, you can see the precious chest protecting the sepulcher of St. Peter. Behind the altar, protected by a gilded bronze grid, lie the remains of the “Memoria Petri”. This monument was built by C0nstantine to protect the mortal remains of Peter. This is the epi-center of the Apostolic Roots of the Catholic Church.  The grottos contain the tombs of many popes.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy - Saint Pete...

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy – Saint Peter statue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the holy site where the Apostle Peter, the “Prince of the Apostles” was crucified upside down, martyred and buried.  A “Scavi Tour” of the Vatican Necropolis is available with advanced reservations (at least 90 days before your departure). All requests must be made in writing to the excavations office: scavi@fsp.va.  The crypt is located under the Papal Altar. For over 1900 years, pilgrims from all over the world have come to this location to venerate the remains of Saint Peter. The Scavi Tour ends at the Clementine Chapel in the grottos near the tomb of Pope John Paul II.

English: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter ...

English: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. Ελληνικά: Λεπτομέρεια από την νωπογραφία του Πιέτρο Περουτζίνο, Ο Χριστός Παραδίδει τα Κλειδιά στον Πέτρο, 335 x 600 cm, Καπέλα Σιξτίνα, Πόλη του Βατικανού. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are located a short distance from the Basilica. Magnificent works of art are housed in the Vatican City that became sovereign in 1929. It is the world’s smallest country. It occupies 109 acres and it is ruled by the pope.

My favorite time to visit the Vatican is during Christmas. The square in front of the Basilica is lavishly decorated for Christmas with a giant tree and a presepe. The square is equpped with large video screens so that during the holiday festivities, everyone gets a bird’s eye view of the holy events. Every year a different part of Italy or a different European country donates a spuce tree to the Vatican. The tree is decorated with 3000 ornaments and 1500 lights. Watch the tree lighting:  http://www.romereports.com/palio/Vatican-lights-up-Christmas-tree-english-3257.html

 

The glorious tree is a symbol of life and hope. It signifies the birth of Christ. Listen to Mahalia Jackson sing “Silent Night” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dsnkuuehmU&feature=fvw. The magnificent tree creates quite a spectacle in St. Peter’s Square. The generous donation of the tree is considered a great honor. This year the majestic 110 foot, 94 year old tree was donated by Luson in Trentino-Alto Adige. In addition, the Vatican erects a huge “Il Presepio” nativity scene in the square. It is generally unveiled on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, the Pope celebrates midnight mass at the Basilica. At noon on Christmas day, the Pope delivers his Christmas message and gives his blessing from the window of his apartment overlooking the square to the crowds gathered at the Vatican.

St. Peter’s Basilica is the most famous Catholic Church in the World with a staircase of over 500 steps that leads to the summit of the dome. The Treasury of Saint Peter’s houses a collection of precious relics.

On New Year’s Day there is a parade in the Vatican City. For the Epiphany, hundreds of people in medieval costumes walk along the wide avenue leading up to the Vatican called the “Street of Reconciliation” bearing symbolic gifts for the pope. The Pope says morning mass to commemorate the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the Christ child.

As the hub of the papacy, Rome had tremendous power and wealth. Artists and architects flocked to Rome to work for the popes. In a lunette over the central opening into the portico of the Basilica is Giotto’s mosaic “Navicella della Chiesa” from 1298. This restored mosaic shows Jesus walking on the waters of the Sea of Tiberias with his right hand extended toward Peter. He is inviting Peter to come with him. Peter is overcome by fear and is beginning to sink. Jesus saves him and says” “How little faith you have! Why did you falter?” This symbolic representation is inspired by the words of Christ, comparing the church to a ship that is constantly battered by storms. Saint Peter’s ship will never sink because it can always rely on the help of its founder.

In the middle of the 17th century, the papacy commissioned Gian Lorenzo Berninito work his distinctive artistic magic on Rome. The world’s greatest Baroque scultptor lavished his creative genius on the ancient city. In 1665, Bernini completed the splendid “Throne of Saint Peter in Glory” at the far end of the nave beneath the glistennig “Dove” stained-glass window in the space behind the altar. The throne depicts the power of the pontiff and is surrounded by the statues of the founding fathers of the church.

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

Image via Wikipedia

Bernini’s flamboyant baroque genius is apparent in other Vatican monuments. Admire his opulent bronze Baldacchino and tabernacle at the papal altar. The bronze for Bernini’s canopy was taken from the Pantheon. His incredible monument to Pope Alexander VIIis one of my favorite sculptures and memorializes the life of the pope with elaborate marble allegorical figures.  Bernini also designed the Piazza outside the church. The colonnade surrounding the square was designed by Bernini between 1656 and 1666. The configuration represents two outstretched arms welcoming faithful pilgrims to the Basilica. There are 140 statues of saints watching over the Basilica above the colonade.

The dome of the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatica...

The dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Jungle_Boy)

Michelangelo Buonarotti designed the dome in 1546. It is almost as wide as Hadrian’s dome on the Pantheon. Michelangelo’s magnificent “Pieta” is housed in St. Peter’s Basilica. It was sculpted halfway through the last millennium when he was 25 years old. It has been protected by glass since it suffered glass a devastating attack of vandalism in 1972. A madman struck the face with a hammer and also knocked off the Madonna’s left arm.

English: Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's B...

English: Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Français : La Pietà de Michel-Ange située dans la Basilique Saint-Pierre, au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1473, Sixtus IV commissioned Giovannni De Dolci to build a chapel for Papal ceremonies.  This Sistine Chapel is located in the Vatican Museum a few blocks away from St. Peter’s.  It houses Michelangelo’s brilliant masterpieces. His monumental frescoes are a magnificent sight to behold and are considered the greatest masterpiece in the history of art. The barrel vaulted ceiling has a scene that represents Adam and Eve’s Original Sin and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  The “Last Judgment” is located on the wall behind the main altar and was completed in 1541. Christ, the supreme judge, welcomes the blessed and banishes the damned. St. Peter holds the key that Christ gave him when he appointed him the head of the Church.

Bloomingdale’s Christmas Tree

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Top Ten Reasons to Travel to Vino con Vista Italy

Pic taken outside Corropoli, Abruzzo, Italy.
Image via Wikipedia
Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy.

Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Vernazza is i...

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Vernazza is in the cinque terre region. Français : Le village de Vernazza, dans les cinque terre, en Ligurie (Italie). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Ap...

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Apse, Pisa, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Detail of the façade (facade) of the ...

English: Detail of the façade (facade) of the Duomo Santa Maria Cathedral in Pisa (Italy). Nederlands: Detail van de façade (voorkant) van de Duomo Santa Maria Kathedraal in Pisa (Italië). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Baptistery of the Pisa Cathedral,...

English: The Baptistery of the Pisa Cathedral, Italy (at night). Français : Vue nocturne du baptistère de la cathédrale de Pise, en Italie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View of the Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo) and Bell...

View of the Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo) and Bell Tower (Campanile) from the southwest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy is one of the world’s most alluring travel destinations. It is brimming with outstanding art, historical buildings and spectacular fountains.

Spanische Treppe in Rom

Spanische Treppe in Rom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are magnificent bridges and churches with sculptures by Bernini and Michelangelo. The Food and Wine is outstanding and there are plenty of enchanting villages for touring and tasting. Italy is a premier wine tourism destination.

English: Rome, the Coloseum, originally known ...

English: Rome, the Coloseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre Italiano: Il Colosseo a Roma, originariamente conosciuto come Anfiteatro Flavio Polski: Rzymskie Koloseum, znane też jako Amfiteatr Flawiuszów (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italiano: Collage di vari immagini di Roma.

Italiano: Collage di vari immagini di Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Travel to Italy:

1. It is the historic and cultural epicenter of the Etruscans, the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pi...

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pisa, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and the Renaissance.

Capo Conca at Conca dei Marini, Almalfi Coast ...

Capo Conca at Conca dei Marini, Almalfi Coast (10/10/2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome, the Coloseum, originally known as the Fl...

Rome, the Coloseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre Italiano: Il Colosseo a Roma, originariamente conosciuto come Anfiteatro Flavio Polski: Rzymskie Koloseum, znane też jako Amfiteatr Flawiuszów (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy  is imbued with superlatives. Italy has more than 47  World Heritage; more sites than any other country in the world. They have sultry fashion and vehicle design, outstanding culinary and entertainment options, spectacular beaches and magnificent art and architecture.

Spagna, Spanish Steps, Spanische Treppe in Rom

Spagna, Spanish Steps, Spanische Treppe in Rom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the 5 villages known as "Cinque Te...

One of the 5 villages known as “Cinque Terre” in Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.  Italy is also a manufacturing juggernaut.  It produces sexy, powerful driving machines.  In 1929, Enzo Ferrari founded the racing team that led to the famous sports car.

English: Autodromo Dino and Enzo Ferrari in Im...

English: Autodromo Dino and Enzo Ferrari in Imola in Italy. Start of an inline-skater competition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The legendary Ferrari auto company recently  built a new museum in Ferrari’s hometown of Modena.

Tour the museum here: http://www.businessinsider.com/take-a-look-inside-the-ferrari-museum-2012-8?op=1#ixzz24r0pztPS.

Prestigious nameplates like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati thrill car enthusiasts around the world.

Ferrari 308

Ferrari 308 (Photo credit: dave_7)

orange enzo ferrari

Ilario Bandini and Enzo Ferrari in Forlì in 1964.

Ilario Bandini and Enzo Ferrari in Forlì in 1964. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italian design prowess spills over into the motorcycle industry.  The sleek curves of Ducati, Cagiva, Aprilia and Motoguzzi offer exciting, desirable rides.  Even the country’s Fiats and Vespas are alluring. The cacophony of Italy’s motorcycless can be heard throughout the world.

English: Castel Sant'Angelo/St. Angelo and Pon...

English: Castel Sant’Angelo/St. Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo (Rome) Français : Pont Sant’Angelo, Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mount Etna seen from the town of Taormina.

Mount Etna seen from the town of Taormina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3.  Captivating panoramic vistas of the peninsula’s majestic mountains, volcanoes and glistening seas enhance Italy’s timeless charm.  The fascinating array of sights and travel experiences includes glorious cityscapes overflowing with art and architectural masterpieces in the Vatican City are captivating! Churches and museums are repositories of magnificent art. Saint Peter’s Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums contain the most spectacular art collection in the world. The Uffizi in Florence has more masterpieces per square foot than any other art museum in the world.

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome seen from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo. Location: Rome Taken: September 2004 Source: Wikipedia Commons Photographer: Wolfgang Stuck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The left half of the entire ceiling, after res...

The left half of the entire ceiling, after restoration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sicily 2009

Sicily 2009 (Photo credit: mad_76)

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 I...

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 Italian wine from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4.  Italy’s historic cities are surrounded by dreamy landscapes coveted and replicated by Renaissance artists.  Rolling hills are carpeted with vineyards and olive and citrus groves.  The micro climates of wine regions from Piedmont to Sicily provide the Italian wine producers with resources and endless opportunities to produce highly-regarded local wines. Sangiovese, Trebbiano,  Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes become estate wines that ultimately stock wine cellars throughout Italy. Italy supplies the world with the finest Barolo, Brunello, Amarone and Chianti wines. There are more than 300 varietals that are cultivated in many locations: by the sea, on the foothills of the magnificent mountains and in the southern-most volcanic islands.

World-wide Italian wine sales in 2011 were 13 billion euros with 700,000 wine estates and 30,000 bottlers. Outstanding wines earn accolades like “Three Glasses” (Tre Bicchieri) from Gamberro Rosso.  In 2012, from over 20,000 wines tasted by Gambero Rosso panels, only 375 labels attained the “Tre Bicchieri” status. By the way, Italy also has outstanding olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Italian Food & Wine

Italian Olive Oil

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Logo of the United Nations Educational, Scient...

Logo of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5.  In 1972, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed the World Heritage Convention.  This International Treaty was designed to preserve the world’s greatest cultural and natural sites. Italy has a wide array of the designated World Heritage Sites.  The sites range from archeological ruins to distinctive city centers like Rome, Florence and Venice. Sicily has incredible Greek Theaters and Temples.

Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taormina 05

Taormina 05 (Photo credit: Giovy.it)

6. Italy’s reputation as Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” destination is enhanced by the availability of superb accommodations.  Italians have mastered the art of seaside lounging; many hotels offer rejuvenating spas, rooftop observatories and infinity pools.

English: Plaque to Federico Fellini on the Via...

English: Plaque to Federico Fellini on the Via Veneto, Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historic monasteries and villas have been converted into luxuriously appointed five-star hotel properties that meet the discriminating needs of sophisticated sojourners.

If you go to Rome, stay at the Hotel Majestic Roma on the Via Venato. This is one of my favorite properties. The historic architect Gaetano Koch catered to the luxury crowd and the hotel served as a backdrop for Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. I love the panoramic views from the balconies of the newly renovated restaurant overlooking the Via Venato.

Interior of the Grand Hotel Minerva in Rome Italy

I love the Grand Hotel Mineva in Rome because everytime you walk out of the front door, you get to see Bernini’s famous elephant in Piazza della Minerva.Bernini

Grand Hotel Minerva in Rome Italy

Another one of my favorites is the Hotel de Russie. The 18th century terraced gardens are close to the Popolo churches and they serve a great de Russie Martini with caviar. Near the Spanish Steps, stay at the Hotel Eden near the Via Condotti. They have a fabulous rooftop restaurant called La Teraza. The Hassler is at the top of the Spanish Steps. The 1885 building was reconstructed in 1938. There are fabulous views of the Pantheon, Aventino Hill and the Borghese Gardens through the 6th floor windows. Have lunch at the Palm Court Garden. I must admit that my favorite Vino con Vista hotel in Italy is Villa Cimbrone in Ravello; perched high above the Amalfi Coast.

View from Ravello, Italy, down into the bay.

View from Ravello, Italy, down into the bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravello Italy coast

Ravello Italy coast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7.  Government-supported agritourism is growing exponentially across Italy since its inception in 1985.  Agriturismo allows travelers to stay and dine at working farms.  The government offers tax breaks and incentives to farmers who create rooms for tourists.  There were more than 14,000 agriturismi in Italy in 2007; over 3500 in Tuscany and about 600 in Sardinia.

Door of the Cathedral’s Bell Tower in Alghero Sardinia

8.  The nation’s flourishing culinary culture spawns superb cooking schools and gourmet restaurants.  Many detail-obsessed chefs use fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Notable chefs earn sought after Michelin Stars, as well as Italy’s coveted “Tre Forchette” (Three Forks) Awards.

Pasta vongole in Naples, Italy.

Pasta vongole in Naples, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9.  “Buon Ricordo” is an association of gastronomic entrepreneurs founded in 1964 (www.buonricordo.com). The union of member restaurants promotes regional cuisine with specialty entrees, membership cards and charming ceramic collector plates that celebrate local culinary tradition. There are more than 100 Buon Ricordo Restaurants in Italy. Card-carrying Buon Ricordo members are afforded hotel privileges as well. Outstanding Italian restaurateurs are passionately committed to palate-pleasing regional cuisine and wine. They offer extensive wine lists that provide depth and diversity of labels and vintages.  They frequently retain devoted wine directors and sommeliers. By the way, Italy has the best desserts in the world!

Italian Food & Wine

YUMMY!!

Armani is another example of luxury designer c...

Armani is another example of luxury designer clothing label. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10.  Italy is a shopping paradise.  Designer fashion luminaries grace Italy’s catwalks.  Socialites and celebrities embrace the designs of Italian purveyors like Gucci, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Armani, Prada, Valentino and Ferragamo.  Italy’s haute couture and ready-to-wear adorn global fashionistas.

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides.

Rome

Rome (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

English: Map of Italy and its districts.

English: Map of Italy and its districts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angelo

Angelo (Photo credit: aldoaldoz)

 

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St. Peter’s Basilica in Italy’s Vatican City

Rome - St. Peter's Basilica from St. Angelo Bridge

Rome – St. Peter’s Basilica from St. Angelo Bridge (Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer)

English: Interior of St. Peter's Basilica in V...

English: Interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome Česky: Uvnitř Baziliky svatého Petra, Vatikán, Řím (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome seen from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo. Location: Rome Taken: September 2004 Source: Own photo Photographer: Wolfgang Stuck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be the buria...
Image via Wikipedia

In 1506, Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica, originally built by Constantine from 324-329.

Emperor Constantine built a glorious crown for St. Peter’s tomb over the site where his bones were preserved.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: diluvienne)

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside S...

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Statue of St Peter by Arnolfo di Camb...

English: Statue of St Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Façade of St. Peter's Basilica as see...

English: Façade of St. Peter’s Basilica as seen from Saint Peter’s Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St Peter's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: JP..)

Saint Peter’s Basilica is built above the site where Peter the Apostle was crucified, martyred and buried in the year 64.

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

English: Bernini’s “Gloria” surmounting the “Cathedra Petri”, also by him. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter was the first apostle and the first pope. He is always carrying his key.

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter’s Square (Photo credit: jimmyharris)

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: kvsankar)

Since Rome is a place of pilgrimage, a “Scave Tour” is available with advanced reservations and allows you to visit the tomb of St. Peter and the archeological excavations beneath the basilica. Travel from the Baroque church to the Romanesque sanctuary to the Roman cemetery and tomb of Peter the Apostle. The crypt is located under the Papal Altar. Pay hommage to St.Peter in the Basilica.

Bronze Statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica in Italy

The Basilica contains the work of some of Italy’s finest sculptors. Vatican City is the world’s smallest country and occupies 109 acres; it has been a sovereign state since 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.

St. Peter’s Square is equipped with large video screens. When pilgrims and tourists converge upon the area for festivities, spectators have a bird’s eye view of the main event.

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

 The red granite obelisk was brought to Rome from Egypt by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD.  It was moved to this square in 1587 by Domenico Fontana.

Emperor Caligula's obelisk at St. Peter's Basilica in Italy

The statues surrounding the obelisk represent the zodiac. There are two 17th century fountains in the square. The fountain on the right (1613) is by Carlo Maderno who also designed the façade of the church. The fountain on the left was added by Bernini in 1675 by Carlo Fontana.

English: A 5x6 segment panoramic image taken b...

English: A 5×6 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens from the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican City in Rome. Français: Image panoramique composée de 5×6 photos prises par David Iliff à l’aide d’un appareil Canon 5D et une lentille 70-200mm f/2.8L à partir du dôme de la Basilique Saint-Pierre au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Columns and Corinthian pilasters decorate the façade. The central balcony above the main entrance is the “Loggia of Benedictions” where the pope delivers the benediction after his election and gives his weekly blessing. Below the cupola, Bernini’s workshop created 13 statues: Christ the Redeemer, John the Baptist and eleven apostles. St. Peter and St. Paul’s 19th century statues welcome visitors on the ground floor of the basilica.

St. Peter’s statue by Giuseppe de Fabris holds the golden key that he received from Christ.

Statue of St. Peter by Giuseppe de Fabris

 St. Paul’s statue by Adamo Tadolini holds the sword that symbolizes his decapitation in Rome.

The dome of the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatica...

The dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The building on the right is the Pope’s residence. The Pope appears every Sunday at noon to say the Angelus and give his apostolic blessing. The colonnade surrounding the square was designed by Bernini between the years 1656 and 1666. They represent two outstretched arms welcoming the faithful to the Basilica. There are 140 statues of saints watching over the Basilica above the colonnade.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are five bronze entrance doors. These sacred doors are symbolic and functional. From left to right these doors represent: Death, Good and Evil, the original door from the old basilica, the Sacraments and the Porta Santa (Holy Door). The Holy Door is only opened during Jubilee years so that religious pilgrims can receive the Pope’s special blessing.

Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Scu...

Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Sculptor: Vico Consorti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy doors at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City

English: Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's B...

English: Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Français : La Pietà de Michel-Ange située dans la Basilique Saint-Pierre, au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and  Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

To learn more about Romevisit www.vino-con-vista.com. Buon Viaggio–

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I Love Bernini’s Vino con Vista Rome: A Baroque Paradise Video

The Rape of Proserpina

The Rape of Proserpina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bernini's baldacchino, inside Saint P...

English: Bernini’s baldacchino, inside Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Self-Portrait

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Self-Portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rape of Proserpina sculpture by Bernini in...

Image via Wikipedia

Magnificent works of art are housed in Rome and in the Vatican City state that became sovereign in 1929, ruled by the Pope.  The grand churches were built in the following order: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical.

 

Most of the exquisite Baroque monuments and buildings were erected during the 16th and 17th centuries. Many of the most famous Baroque masterpieces are by Gian Lorenzo Bernini who lavished his artistic genius on the city of Rome.

 

Watch this Vino con Vista Video to see Bernini’s genius: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGX_gZMMa00

 

To learn more about Bernini’s Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

 

During my most recent trip to Rome, I went on a Bernini treasure hunt and these were some of my stops:

 

1. Bernini’s flamboyant baroque genius is readily apparent in his opulent bronze Baldacchino above the papal altar in St. Peter’s Basilica pictured below.

 

Bernini’s Baldachinno Pillar in Rome

Bernini’s Baldachinno at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Bernini began working on the splendid “Throne of Saint Peter in Glory” in 1656.  It occupies the space behind the Baldacchino and altar at St.Peter’s. The throne represents the authority of the Pontiff and is surrounded by statues of the founding fathers of the Church.

 

Bernini’s Throne in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

3. The Piazza Barberini has two Bernini fountains.

 

 

Bernini’s Triton Fountain

The Rape of Proserpina

The Rape of Proserpina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Bernini’s “Rape of Proserpina” (1622) at the Borghese Gallery depicts Pluto, the powerful god of the underground, abducting Proserpina. The magnificent sculpture is featured in this post. Proserpina’s mother was Ceres, the goddess of harvest and fertility.  She cut a deal with Jupiter and obtained permission for her to daughter to spend half of the year in Hades and the other half on earth.  Every spring welcomes Proserpina back to earth with a luscious carpet of flowers.

English: A detail of the Rape of Proserpina sc...

English: A detail of the Rape of Proserpina sculpture by Bernini in the Galleria Borghese. Photo taken by myself on 01/20/07. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5.Bernini’s “David” was completed in 1624.  The head of David is Bernini’s self portrait and it is also housed in the Borghese Gallery.

 

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides for Italy and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

 

 

 

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Piazza del Popolo’s Top 5 Vino con Vista Opportunities in Rome

Roma - Piazza del Popolo

Roma – Piazza del Popolo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Français : Façade intérieure de la Porta del P...

Français : Façade intérieure de la Porta del Popolo, sur la Piazza del Popolo à Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome, Piazza del Popolo, Obélisque et églises ...

Rome, Piazza del Popolo, Obélisque et églises Santa Maria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fontana del Nettuno or Neptune's Fountain, in ...

Fontana del Nettuno or Neptune’s Fountain, in the Piazza del Popolo, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Piazza del Popolo is one of my favorite pedestrian-only squares in Rome because it offers so many interesting sites and things to do. The Piazza is situated between the ancient Porta Flaminia and the park of the Pincio.

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Image via Wikipedia

popolo archway

The Porta Flaminia was one of the gates in the ancient Roman Aurelian Wall. It was the starting point of the Via Flaminia which led north to the Roman town of  Ariminum ( Rimini) in Ancient Rome.  On the north end of the piazza stands the Porta del Popolo that is also called the Porta Flaminia.

Porta del Popolo or Porta Flaminia in Rome

Porta del Popolo or Porta Flaminia in Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It leads to the the Piazzale Flaminio and the start of the Via Flaminia. The gateway was reconfigureed by Bernini for Pope Alexander VII in 1655, to welcome Queen Christina of Sweden to Rome following her conversion to Roman Catholicism after her abdication.

Popolo piazza

The Piazza has a suberb location in Rome. The central street, the Via del Corso follows southward to the Piazza Venezia, the Capitol and the forum. The Via di Ripetta leads past the Mausoleum of Augustus to the River Tiber and the Via del Babuino (“Baboon”) leads to Piazza di Spagna.

The Piazza has one of the tallest obelisks in Rome surrounded by outdoor cafes perfectly suited to an extraordinary Vino con Vista.  There are three churches in the square: The Church of Santa Maria del Popolo with a simple facade and the twin Baroque churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1681) and Santa Maria in Montesanto (1679).

1. From Piazza del Popolo  you can climb the stairs behind the Neptune fountain to the top of the Pincio Steps that lead from the Piazza del Popolo to the Villa Borghese’s gardens. The stairs link the piazza with the heights of the ancient Roman Pincian Hill that overlooks the space from the east. The pedestrian steps leading up beside a waterfall to the Pincio park balustraded lookout that provides a passageway to the Villa Borghese gardens.

Pincio Hill in Piazza Popolo

Neptune Fountain

2. The Popolo Obelisk is the Egyptian obelisk of Sety I from Heliopolis.  Three sides of the obelisk were carved during the reign of Sety I and the fourth side was carved during the riegn of Rameses II. The obelisk is also called “obelisco Flaminio” and it  is the second oldest and one of the tallest obelisks in Rome. The obelisk was brought to Rome in 10 BC by order of Augustus and originally set up in the Circus Maximus. It was re-erected here in the piazza by the architect-engineer Domenico Fontana in 1589 as part of the urban plan of Sixtus V.

Popolo obelisk

At the center of the piazza is the Fontana dell’ Obelisco with a group of our mini lion fountains. Each lion is situated on a stepped plinth added around the base of the obelisk in 1818.

Popolo lion fountain

The layout of the piazza today was designed in neoclassical style between 1811 and 1822 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier when he removed a modest fountain by Giacomo Della Porta that was erected in 1572.

3. The Piazza has a lovely Fontana del Nettuno at the base of the Porta del Popolo on Pincio Hill. The Piazza Popolo Fountain of Neptune stands on the west side of the piazza and depicts Neptune with his trident  accompanied by two dolphins.

Piazza Popolo Fountain of Neptune

4. Visit the symmetrical (almost) twin Baroque churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1681) and Santa Maria in Montesanto (1679), begun by Carlo Rainaldi and completed by Bernini and Carlo Fontana.

Roma - Piazza del Popolo

Roma – Piazza del Popolo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Maria Montesanto

These churches define the junctions of the roads called the “trident” (il Tridente): the Via del Corso in the centre; the Via del Babuino to the left (opened in 1525 as the Via Paolina) and the Via di Ripetta (opened by Leo X in 1518 as the Via Leonina) to the right.

Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Piazza Popolo

.

Miracoli altar in Piazza Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The two, almost twin, churches of S. Maria di Montesanto (left) and S. Maria dei Miracoli (right) in Piazza del Popolo were designed by Carlo Rainaldi. Gian Lorenzo Bernini provided him with advice on how to emphasize the similarity between the two churches. S. Maria di Montesanto was erected first (1678) and S. Maria dei Miracoli a few years later (1681). The columns come from the bell tower erected by Bernini for St Peter’s, a project that was eventually abandoned.

The high altar of Santa Maria dei Miracoli has the miraculous image of the Virgin which has given the church its name, “Madonna dei Miracoli” (Our Lady of Miracles). The first chapel on the right-hand side has an altar dedicated to Our Lady of Bétharram, named after a shrine near Lourdes.  The church was erected by C.Rainaldi to preserve an image of  the Madonna that was found on the wall close to Porta del Popolo. The church has two chapels on each side. The image of the Madonna is on the high altar surmounted by four marble angels by A.Raggi. In the presbytery, there are  funeral monument to cardinal Gastaldi, who sponsored construction of the church, and his brother. The facade was later changed by G.L.Bernini and C.Fontana.

5.  The Church of Santa Maria del Popolo has a simple facade. It is an Augustinian church located on the north side of the Piazza del Popolo. It occupies the site where Pope Paschal II (1099-1118)  built an oratory over the tombs of the Roman Domitia family at the foot of the Pincian Hills. The church includes works by several famous artists, architects and sculptors including: Raphael, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Pinturicchio, Andrea Bregno, Guillaume de Marcillat and Donato Bramante. The dome of the Chigi Chapel is decorated with Raphael’s  drawings of the Creation of the World. These depict God as creator of the heavens, surrounded by symbols of the planets.

Raffaello Sanzio - Dome of the Chigi Chapel - ...

Raffaello Sanzio – Dome of the Chigi Chapel – WGA18820 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The original church was built on this site in 1099.  A host of famous architects rebuilt this beautiful old church beginning in 1472; namely, A. Bregno, Pinturicchio, and B. Pontelli.  Later, Bramante and Bernini made additions to it.

Santa Maria del Popolo contains one of the richest collections of art of all Rome’s churches, with the exception of St. Peter’s.  It also contains two Chigi pyramid tombs embedded in the walls of the side chapels, the tomb of Cardinal Foscari, and the tomb of Cardinal Della Revere by Mino da Fiesole and A. Bregno.

Dämonenloch in der Santa Maria del Popolo, Rom...

Dämonenloch in der Santa Maria del Popolo, Rom English: Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, Italy: Chigi chapel. Incrustated floor with the coats of arms of the House of Chigi hold by the Death. Italiano: Santa Maria del Popolo a Roma, Cappella Chigi. Pavimento intarsiato con lo stemma Chigi sorretto dalla Morte. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a the kneeling skeleton mosaic on the floor in the Chigi Chapel of the 17th century. It represents the coat of arms of the House of Chigi.

Visit the gorgeous Della Revere Chapel and be sure to admire the stained-glass of 1509 by French artist Guillaume de Marcillat.  Also, there is the tomb of Ascanio Sforza, who died in 1505, built by Andrea Sansovino.

Nero lived on in the imagination of the people long after the fall of the Roman Empire.  In the Middle Ages, a legend arose that a walnut tree growing here on the spot where his ashes were buried was haunted by the Emperor.  Ravens roosting in the tree were thought to be demons tormenting him for his hideous crimes.  When the first church was built here, under Pope Paschal II’s reign, the tree was cut down, supposedly putting an end to the supernatural events that had terrified the locals for so long.

Chiesa di Santa Maria del Popolo

Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Roma Česky: P...

The apse was designed by Bramante. The oldest stained glass window in Rome can be found here, made by French artist Guillaume de Marcillat. Pinturicchio decorated the vault with frescoes, including the Coronation of the Virgin. The tombs of Cardinals Ascanio Sforza and Girolamo Basso della Rovere, both made by Andrea Sansovino, can also be found in the apse.

The Cerasi Chapel  is one of five chapels located within the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. The Chapel contains important paintings by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Annibale Carracci, two of the founders of Baroque art.

Admire the two famous canvases painted by Caravaggio:  “The Martyrdom and Crucifixion of St. Peter”  (St. Peter was crucified upside down) on the right side of the Chapel and “Conversion of Saint Paul on the Way to Damascus” on the left side of the chapel. These paintings were commissioned by Tiberio Cerasi in 1600.

Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of Saint Peter

Caravaggio’s The Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Situated between the two works of Caravaggio is the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci.

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 3

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Maria del Popolo, cappella Chigi, in Rom...

Santa Maria del Popolo, cappella Chigi, in Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Chigi Chapel is the most lavishly decorated. The wealthy Sienese banker Agostini Chigi commissioned Raphael  to design and decorate the octagonal funerary chapel. On the altar, admire the “Nativity of the Virgin” by Sebastiano del Piombo.

Jonah and the great fish, with the head of the...

Jonah and the great fish, with the head of the Farnese Antinous. Marble, drawn by Raphael and executed by Lorenzetto (1522–27), Chigi Chapel of the Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. Français : Jonas et le gros poisson, avec la tête de l’Antinoüs Farnèse. Marbre, dessiné par Raphaël et exécuté par Lorenzetto (1522-1527), chapelle Chigi de l’église Santa Maria del Popolo à Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the left alcove there is a statue of Johan and Elijah by Lorenzetto. The other two statues of Daniel and Habakkuk are by Bernini. The angel is telling Habakkuk to take the basket of food to the famished Daniel in the lions’ den in Babylon. Bernini also did the portraits on the Pyramidal tombs of Agostino and Sigismondo Chigi. In the inscription on the floor of “Death”, Bernini added the inscription, “Death is the way to Heaven.”

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 4

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God the creator of the heavens is surrounded by the symbols of the planets guided by angels. Gian Lorenzo Bernini would later complete the chapel. His additions include the sculptures “Habakkuk and the Angel” (1655-1661)  and “Daniel and the Lion” ((1655-1657). Bernini also created the portraits on the tombs of Agostino and Sigismondo Chigi on the sides of the chapel.

Santa Maria del Popolo (Rome)

Santa Maria del Popolo (Rome) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The  main altar has as image of the Virgin. Below the 13th century image of the Virgin it says: “You are the honor of our people.”  There are two statues of Augustinian saints on either side of the picture of the Virgin: Nicholas of Tolentino on the left and William of  Maleval on the right.

Santa maria del polpolo, pinturicchio 2

Santa maria del polpolo, pinturicchio 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Maria del Popolo main altar

The Della Rovere Chapel has a beautiful fresco by Pinturicchio depicting the Nativity and the life of St. Jerome.

Santa maria del polpolo, pinturicchio 1

Santa maria del polpolo, pinturicchio 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photo of the Cybo Chapel of Santa Maria del Po...

Photo of the Cybo Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cybo Chapel has sixteen columns of Sicilian jasper with an altarpiece by Carlo Maratto, “Immaculate Conception with Saints.”

On the sides of the chapel are the twin tombs of the Cybo Cardinals; Lorenzo on the left and Alderano on the right.

At the end of your site-seeing adventure, have a Vino con Vista at the Rosati Cafe. Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides. To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com.

Piazza Popolo’s Rosati Cafe

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A Video Vino Con Vista Tour of Rome

[Forum Boario, Rome, Italy] (LOC)

[Forum Boario, Rome, Italy] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Rome

Rome (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)

English: The seven hills of Rome Српски / Srps...

English: The seven hills of Rome Српски / Srpski: Седам брежуљака Рима (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome ...

Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome to the Southern parts of Italy remains usable even today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Currently ancient Rome covers the modern munic...

Currently ancient Rome covers the modern municipi 1, 2 and 3. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tour the magnificence of Ancient Rome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIeZfHLByvQ&feature=related

[Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy] (LOC)

[Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

or Modern Rome

http://www.5min.com/Video/Travel-to-Rome-Italy-113368082

To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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Who built Rome’s Historic Pantheon?

The Pantheon, a landmark of the Campus Martius...
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English: Close-up of the ceiling of the Panthe...

English: Close-up of the ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome (Italy) highlighted by a sunbeam. Nederlands: Close-up van het plafond van het Pantheon in Rome (Italië) opgelicht door een zonnestraal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Pantheon in Rome.

English: The Pantheon in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Painting by Giovanni Paolo Pannini of the Pant...

Painting by Giovanni Paolo Pannini of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy, after its conversion to a church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pantheon Rome #2

Pantheon Rome #2 (Photo credit: Stoic Meditation)

East side of the Pantheon in Rome.

East side of the Pantheon in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

English: The Pantheon in Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plan of the first ( Red ) (by Marcus Vipsanius...

Plan of the first ( Red ) (by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa) and of the third (Black) (by Hadrian) Pantheon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

complete cupola of Pantheon Rome

complete cupola of Pantheon Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pantheon in Rome has occupied its present location for nearly 2000 years. It was originally designed in 27 B.C. as a pagan temple for all twelve Roman deities; supernatural and immortal beings. The deities were Apollo, Ceres, Diana, Juno, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Venus, Vesta and Vulcan.

Pantheon - Rome (LOC)

Pantheon – Rome (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Русский: Внутреннее убранство Пантеона

Image via Wikipedia

The massive original doors are still used for entry into the Basilica.

 Pantheon Doors in Rome Italy

English: Pantheon (temple to all the gods of a...

Image via Wikipedia

The structure is as wide as it is tall (140 x 140 feet).  The 30 foot wide oculus in the roof is the only source of light and was designed to allow the smoke from the burning of sacrificed animals to escape. The hemispherical dome was made from un-reinforced concrete and is still the largest dome in the world of its type.

Pantheon Oculus in Rome Italy

Circular exterior view of the side of the Pantheon

The coffers for the concrete dome were poured in molds. Eight massive granite columns support the triangular tympanon. 

Agrippa was the son-in-law of Emperor Augustus. Agrippa’s name is still inscribed in the trabeation above the portico in Latin and bears the inscription “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, Consul for the third time built this.”

Marcus Agrippa in Rome Italy

Pantheon Restoration

Agrippa did not really build the Pantheon; he built an earlier temple on this site in 27 B.C. that was ravaged by a fire. The Pantheon was built in 125 AD during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. 

Pope Boniface IV

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The Pantheon was given to Pope Boniface IV in 609 and he converted it into a church and named it Santa Maria ad Martyres. Pope Boniface had 28 carloads of martyrs’ bones brought here from various cemeteries in Rome. It became the first pagan temple to be consecrated as a church.

English: An image of the tomb of Umberto I in ...

English: An image of the tomb of Umberto I in the Pantheon, in Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Saint Mary and the Martyrs Church in Rome

Saint Mary and the Martyrs houses the mortal remains of Raphael in an ancient marble sarcophagus. Raphael died in 1520.  The bust of Raphael located in the niche left of the aedicule and was completed in 1833 by Giueseppe Fabris.

The tomb of the fist king of Italy, King Victor Emanuele II (1820-1878), has a statue of St. Ann and the Virgin in the aedicule to the left of the tomb by Lorenzo Ottoni.

English: Pantheon, Rome, Raphael's tomb.

Image via Wikipedia

Tomb of King VIctor Emanuele II in Rome ItalyTomb of Raphael at the Pantheon in Rome Italy

Bronze bust of Raphael on top of the artist's ...

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Most of the marble was recycled for St. Peter’s Basilica. In 1625, Pope Urban VIII (Barberini) removed the bronze from the beams of the portico to make 80 cannons for Castel Sant’Angelo and the four spiral columns of Bernini’s Baldachinno in St. Peter’s Basilica. The colossal bronze doors are original. Today we might consider that a “green” ecologically friendly move but the Roman’s say, “Whatever the barbarians didn’t do, the Barberini did.” The tomb of Victor Emanuele II was then created from bronze that was recast from the Castel Sant’Angelo’s cannons at the turn of the 20th century.

Interior view of the Pantheon in Rome Italy

 

 

The general area around the Pantheon is the financial and political hub of the city and includes the stock exchange and Parliament. I think the Cafe Agrippa is a great place for a “Vino con Vista”!

Cafe Agrippa at the Pantheon in Rome

The Piazza della Rotunda is the name of the square in front of the Pantheon. One of Rome’s prized Egyptian obelisks occupies the center of the square. Did you know that you will never get lost in Rome if you follow the obelisks? They  are like a Roman GPS system that mark important landmarks in Rome.

Piazza della Rotunda obelisk in Rome Italy in front of the Pantheon

 

Fountain in the Piazza della Rotunda in front of the Pantheon in Rome

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and  Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

Buon Viaggio–

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Have a Vino con Vista near the Pantheon in Rome Italy

Plan of the first ( Red ) (by Marcus Vipsanius...

Plan of the first ( Red ) (by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa) and of the third (Black) (by Hadrian) Pantheon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: Rom, Pantheon mit Vorplatz inklusive ...

Deutsch: Rom, Pantheon mit Vorplatz inklusive Obelisk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hadrian's Pantheon in Rome is an example of Ro...

Hadrian’s Pantheon in Rome is an example of Roman concrete construction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want a breathtaking Vino con Vista, visit the Pantheon in Rome. The majestic Pantheon is the Church of Santa Maria ad Martyres located on the Piazza della Rotonda. This is my favorite area to stay in because it is packed with restaurants and bars and has a very lively nightlife. I can never get enough of that gorgeous ancient Pantheon.

Here’s a brief history and some interesting facts about this magnificent structure:

1. The first Pantheon was constructed by Marcus Agrippa between 27-25 B.C.

2. Between 118-125 A.D., Emperor Hadrian built a new Pantheon and, in 609, it was consecrated as the Church of Santa Maria ad Martyres under Pope Boniface IV.

3. The only light that enters the circular building is through a hole in the center of the coffered dome called the “oculus”.

4. The building was constructed from a new material of the time called concrete, which wasinvented after the devastating fire in ROme of 64 to comply with the new fireproofing ordinances.

5.  The ornate marble inlaid floor  is sloped slightly so that rainwater would be able to drain from inside the building.

6.  In 735, Pope Gregory III had the roof done in lead and, in 663, Emporer Constans II removed the gilded tiles from the roof.

7.  To support the heavy dome, the walls are 19 feet thick.

8. The Rotonda’s height and width are the same – 140 feet.

9. The original portico built by M. Agrippa remain and is built on the foundation of the original temple.

10. There were twin bell towers added on each side of the portico but  they were removed in 1883.

11.  The interior walls are lined with tombs, including  Raphael and King Vittorio Emanuele II.

12. When the Papacy moved to  Avignon between 1305-1377, the Pantheon was used as a poultry market and fortress.

13. In 1632, Urban VIII had the bronze from the portico anddome melted down to provide Bernini the bronze with which to build the baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica.

14. Concerts are also held here from time to time.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com

 

 

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