St. Peter’s in Rome

The Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s soaring dome of St. Peter’s, as seen from within the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. The dome marks the spot where, in the fourth century C.E., Constantine built one of the first Christian basilicas over the tome of the apostle Peter. Photograph by Nicola Denzey Lewis.

The St. Peter’s Basilica that we know today took over a century to build. Construction began in 1506 and the basilica was consecrated in 1626. The cathedral marks the spot where, in the fourth century C.E., Constantine built one of the first Christian basilicas over the tomb of the apostle Peter. The Renaissance project to rebuild the basilica began under the leadership of Donato Bramante, who designed a Greek-cross plan topped with a shallow circular dome. After Bramante’s death, a series of architects contributed to the design, adding a long nave to the original. In 1546, Michelangelo headed up the design and added the design for the dome, seen here, which is the largest in the world. At the time of Michaelangelo’s death, only the drum, which consists of 16 pairs of Corinthian columns punctured by a window between each pair, was complete.

The Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s soaring dome of St. Peter’s, as seen from within the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. The dome marks the spot where, in the fourth century C.E., Constantine built one of the first Christian basilicas over the tome of the apostle Peter.

Elaborate churches, built on a Roman-influenced architectural plan.

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