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Sights in Rome
Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:15

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

According to tradition it was founded by the emperor Constantine in 320 using one large chamber of the Sessorian Palace to house the relics brought by his mother Helen from Jerusalem. After the edict of Milan which in 313 declared freedom of worship even to Christians, Rome became the new capital of Christianity.

In order to give a special value to this decision relics of Mary, Christ and the Apostles were bought from Palestine. These interests gave life to a new commerce and as usual the market offered also many fakes. S. Croce in Gerusalemme became so the basilica of the relics.

Here are kept soil from the Holy Sepulchre, fragments of the Holy Cross , two thorns from the Crown, the crosspiece from the cross of the penitent robber who was crucified beside Christ and many other venerated objects. The church was restored in 1144 by Lucius II. In 1743 by wish of the pope Benedetto XIV it was completed renewed by Gregorini and Passalacqua. It is one of the 7 churches which are jubilee destinations during the Holy Years.

The façade dates back to the XVIII cent. by Gregorini, who inspired himself to the concave-convex style of Borromini. The interior is divided into three naves with apse and transept. The medieval cosmatesque style floor is very well preserved. Beside the pilasters there are eight granite columns from the ancient basilica. At the beginning of the main nave there are two holy water stoops dating back to the 1400’s with fishes sculpted inside.

The canopy dates back to the 1700’s, in the apse there is a beautiful tomb of the 1400’s by Sansovino. A staircase of the XV cent. leads to St. Helen’s chapel decorated with a beautiful mosaic by Melozzo da Forlì. Beside the church there is a monastery run by Cistercenses monks built at the end of the X cent. Inside there is a wonderful library of the 1700’s painted by Pannini, who is considered one of the most famous painters of his time. Behind the church rises the beautiful romanesque style campanile of the XII century.

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The Basilica of St. Peter (Vatican)
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:15

Vaticano

The Basilica of St. Peter is in the heart of the Vatican City, an independent sovereign state on the right bank of the Tiber river, in the centre of Rome. The Vatican State is the smallest State in the world, and what remains of temporal dominions of the Church, which were annexed to Italy at the end of 1800’s with the unification of the country.

The Basilica as we see it today, with its ribbed dome stands impressively in its square which seems to welcome all the pilgrims of the world in the embrace of the Mother Church. It was designed by the most famous architects and geniuses of the Renaissance and Baroque time. The Basilica stands on the foundations of the Constantinian basilica, that stood for over a thousand years on a sacred area of Pagan-Christians mausoleums.

St. Peter’s Square with its famous colonnade which represents one of the most brilliant ideas of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is 320 meters wide with a central ellipsis of 240 meters and is surrounded by 4 rows of 284 columns and 88 pilasters. The balustrade above the columns is decorated with 140 statues of Saints. Below, a huge stairway of three flights flanked by the statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. In the center of the square there are two great fountains and an obelisk.

The façade of the Basilica -14.69 mt. wide and 47.3 mt. high – is made of travertine of Tivoli. It features a unique structure of Corinthian columns and frames a broad central portico with two arcades on either side (the one on the left leads to the City of the Vatican); above, nine balconies with windows (the central one is the loggia of the blessings) and a canonical attic surmounted by the balustrade that supports thirteen statues. Five bronze doors lead inside. In the middle of the church dominate the magnificent “dome” by Michelangelo and the smaller domes of the Gregorian and Clementine chapels.

Inside, the Basilica is 186 m long (218.7 with the portico, or front hall), the main nave is 46 m in height and the height of the dome is 119 m. Under the dome is the papal altar, with the famous canopy by Bernini rising over it.
The sumptuousness of the interior is breathtaking: 45 altars, 11 chapels, around 10 thousand square metres of mosaics and many other masterpieces, such as the “Pietà” by Michelangelo.
The tombs of several popes can befound under St. Peters Church.pi.

Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, wanted the building of the Basilica in 315 AD exactly on the site where the tomb of Christ’s first Apostle was worshipped.

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