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Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

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Saint Peter's Basilica is one of the most sacred places for Catholics in Rome. It is situated in the Vatican City, within the State of the Vatican, and takes its name from Saint Peter's Square where it rises. It's construction began in 1506 during the reign of Pope Giulio II and finished in 1612 under the rule of Pope Paul V.

In Rome there are three churches dedicated to Saint Peter: San Pietro in Vincoli, San Pietro in Montorio, and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Recent research and the Christian tradition sustain that the Basilica hosts the tomb of Saint Peter under the main alter designed by Bernini, and also the tombs of other Popes.

Within the Basilica there are many marble statues like "La Pietà" by Michelangelo, and other bronze, stucco and travertine statues. For this reason it is defined a work of art. Outside, the facade is composed of nine windows with balconies and the central one is called the "Loggia delle Benedizioni" or Benediction Lodge, because it is from here that the proclamation of a new Pope is made and from where the new Pope gives his first benediction.

On the highest part of the facade there are 13 statues that represent Jesus, John the Baptist, and the other 11 apostles, except that of Saint Peter.

Each entrance into the Basilica has its own name: the Porta della Morte, the Porta dei Sacramenti, the Porta Centrale, and finally the Porta Santa.

Even the six bells have their own names: the "Campanone", the "Campanoncino", the "Rota", the "Predica", the "Ave Maria", and finally the "Campanella".

The Basilica is 218 metres long, over 130 metres high, and covers an area of over 15,000 square metres. The building has a capacity for 8,000 people.

It is also the location for the most relevant cult events like the celebration of the Birth of Christ, Easter, and the rites of the Holy Week, the proclamation of new Popes, the ceremonies and funeral rites of the dead Popes, the opening and the closing of the Jubilee's.

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