The Saint Peter's Square(it. Piazza San Pietro) -is located in front of the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, connecting the temple with Via della Conciliazione.
The square was designed in 1656 by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini. It is surrounded with a portico, whose construction took 11 years. A monumental, four-storey colonnade was designed in the Doric style. It is surmounted with an attic with 140 sculptures of the saints. It is connected with the Counter Reformation and is supposed to symbolize stretched arms of important personages of the Church, overseeing the mankind. Among the statues one can find Saint Hyacinth, Polish Dominican who is situated on the left side at fountain level, facing the basilica.
In the centre of the square there is one of thirteen Egyptian obelisks located in Rome, which initially stood in the centre of the Neron's Circus. Together with a base and a cross it is 39,81 metres high. It derives from the 13th century BC and was brought to the Eternal City by the Emperor Caligula. In the 16th century Pope Sixtus V ordered to move it to the current site. Inscriptions were inscribed on it then. Bernini used the obelisk as the centre of the oval while designing the square. In 1675 he added a fountain surrounding the obelisk.
Two additional fountains were placed in the square. The original one on the right side was designed by Carl Maderna, whereas the one on the left is a reflection of the design of Domenico Fontana. Between the basilica and the colonnade there is the Bronze Gate, guarded by the Swiss Guard. One can see the Royal Stairs(Scala Regia) from that spot, the masterpiece of Bernini.
Different Christian ceremonies are held in the square, frequently led by the pope, such as beatifications, canonizations, the weekly Angelus and general audiences every Wednesday. It is the place where Pope John Paul II was shot on 13 May 1981. The enormity of the square can be realised thanks to the great amount of people who can gather there simultaneously. For the funeral of the Holy Father came 5 millions of believers, what was probably the most ever.
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|Geographical coordinates||41.9022742, 12.4572346|
|Address||00120 Vatican City, Plac Świętego Piotra|