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Rome - Saint Peter's Square

From Wikipedia

Saint Peter's Square (Italian: Piazza San Pietro, pronounced [ˌpi̯aʦa san ˈpi̯ɛːtɾo]) is a massive plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave surrounded by Rome, directly west of the neighborhood or rione of Borgo.
At the center of the square is a four-thousand-year-old Egyptian obelisk, erected at the current site in 1568. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the square almost 100 years later, including the massive Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, which embrace visitors in "the maternal arms of Mother Church." A granite fountain constructed by Bernini in 1675 matches another fountain designed by Carlo Maderno dating to 1613.
History of St. Peter's Square
The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace" (Norwich 1975 p 175). Bernini had been working on the interior of St. Peter's for decades; now he gave order to the space with his renowned colonnades, using the Tuscan form of Doric, the simplest order in the classical vocabulary, not to compete with the palace-like façade by Carlo Maderno, but he employed it on an unprecedented colossal scale to suit the space and evoke emotions of awe.
The site's possibilities were under many constraints from existing structures
The massed accretions of the Vatican Palace crowded the space to the right of the basilica's façade; the structures needed to be masked without obscuring the papal apartments. The obelisk marked a center, and a granite fountain by Carlo Maderno stood to one side: Bernini made the fountain appear to be one of the foci of the ovato tondo embraced by his colonnades and eventually matched it on the other side, in 1675, just five years before his death. The trapezoidal shape of the piazza, which creates a heightened perspective for a visitor leaving the basilica and has been praised as a masterstroke of Baroque theater, is largely a product of site constraints.

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Additional Photos by Romano Lattanzi (Romano46) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1090 W: 0 N: 2643] (16580)
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