Virtually explore St. Peter's Basilica with Smarthistory as your guide
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Cathedra Petri (Chair of St. Peter)
Did Peter sit here? Dizzying but unified, light and gold glorify this sacred place.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s Square
Central to the Counter Reformation, Bernini’s double colonnades activate St. Peter’s and reach out into the city.
Can stone be that soft? Contrast defines this sculpture. Mary is sweet but strong, and Christ, real yet ideal.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
The greatest minds of the High Renaissance worked on this vast church. Construction took more than a century.
Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
Made for a member of the Roman elite, this early tomb features Old and New Testament scenes in a classical style.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Baldacchino, Saint Peter’s
Over 60 feet tall, this daunting bronze canopy is part architecture, part sculpture—and part beehive.