Photo By Peter Watts
St Peter's Square Mass

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Panorama of St Peter's Square in Rome. This picture shows the square laid out in preparation for an open air Mass, giving a good view of the colonnades, the central obelisk and St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Square Mass - FURTHER INFORMATION

St Peter's Square Mass - Rome visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'St Peter's Square Mass' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Roma.

St Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) is a major tourist attraction in Rome, and one of the most famous places on earth. The square is dominated by St Peter's Basilica, the principle church of Roman Catholicism, and a 25.5m high Egyptian, the square is often full of tourists unless, as shown in this picture, it is laid out for an outdoor Mass or other event.

Saint Peter's Square was laid out by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1656 and 1667 for Pope Alexander VI. It is about the same size as the Colosseum and can hold some 300,000 standing people and is best viewed from the Cupola of St Peter's, 140m above ground.

The most notable features of St Peter's Square, aside from St Peter's Basilica, are:

  • St Peter's Colonnades - two curved, covered colonnades, each containing 4 rows of a total of 284 Doric style columns and topped by 96 statues of saints and martyrs.
  • Egyptian Obelisk - the central, 25.5m high, red granite obelisk dates from the 13th century BC. It was brought to Rome in 35AD and erected in St Peter's Square in 1586, taking 900 men, 150 horses and 47 purpose-built craned.
  • Square Markings - around the Obelisk are compass markings In 1817 stones were set into the square marking the obelisk's noon shadow positions each month, turning St Peter's Square into a massive sundial's gnomon.
  • Fountains - two fountains occupy St Peter's Square, each at the focal point of one of the colonnades. They were installed in 1614 and 1667.
Note to visitors: In the right hand colonnade on approaching St Peter's Basilica are security stations. The queues here wind back through the square and can take over an hour at peak Short and sleeveless shirts are not permitted within the church and those unsuitably attired with be refused entry at the checkpoints, but only after queuing.


Metro: S.Pietro, Ottaviano (A)

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