St. Peter’s Square


St. Peter’s Square is the large plaza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. 

The square derives its name from St. Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus and the first Pope. 

The best way to experience the rich history is through a guided tour that takes you through all the details of the square. 

What to expect

St. Peter’s Square is oval, with two colonnades designed by the Italian architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. 

The colonnades consist of four rows of Doric columns that embrace visitors as they enter the square. 

St. Peter’s Square is a popular gathering place for tourists and locals. 

It is often the site of significant events, such as papal audiences and public ceremonies. A lot of cultural events and concerts also take place at the square.

In addition to the Basilica and the colonnades, several other essential buildings surround St. Peter’s Square. 

These include the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, and the Vatican Library, one of the world’s oldest and most significant libraries.

The Vatican Obelisk 

At the center of St. Peter’s Square is an obelisk. 

The obelisk was initially erected in the ancient city of Heliopolis and later moved to Alexandria. 

In 1586, Pope Sixtus V moved the obelisk to its current location in St. Peter’s Square. 

The obelisk is made of red granite and stands over 75 feet tall. 

It is decorated with inscriptions and hieroglyphics and topped with a cross.

The obelisk is the oldest in Rome and is considered one of the city’s most important landmarks. 

As per historical information, the obelisk’s installation in the square was as a gnomon or a device that tells time according to the sun’s position.

It was initially placed in the center of the square and later moved to its current location in the early 20th century.

This move made room for crowds gathered in the square during papal audiences and other events.

Experience the grand entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica with a detailed guided tour.

Featured Image: Massimo Merlini / Getty Images

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