Because of abnormal size of the enterprise, it lasted more than 150 years to give the church its contemporary form. The Basilica of St Pietro is a fruit of massive effort of some generations of the most prominent architects of their epochs. The opus was supported by Michelangelo, author of the dome -the ‘prelude’ of Baroque, which manifests itself in double rhythm of prominent pilasters surrounding the tholobate below. As a representative of Renaissance, he paved the way for new era in architecture. The new movement places emphasis on strong light-and-shadow contrast. Michelangelo reused Bramante’s project, setting the church on the Greek cross plan.
The plan of all construction was once more changed by Carlo Maderna who erected the front façade and the main nave, readopting the idea, conceived many years before, by Raphael Sanzio. His intervention expressed the Baroque inclination towards scenography, making external aspect of the Basilica more theatrical.
In 1667 on initiative of Alexander VII, there was completed oval courtyard, enclosed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Monumental square is constructed around the ancient obelisk, originated from Caligula’s Circus. According to legend, the relict of the past is a silent witness of St Peter martyrdom.
Two monumental colonnades embracing San Pietro Square, gives impression that Catholic Church extent their hands to regain worshippers lost during Protestant Reformation, on private initiative of Borgia Family.
The enormous oval colonnade strongly entwine in urban space, showing that its author had to confront the task of town planning.
The rustic, Tuscan Order, numbering four rows of columns was designed as a masterpiece of High Roman Baroque.
St. Peter’s Basilica, placed on the territory of Vatican City is one of the biggest churches ever erected by Christians. This Papal Basilica according to tradition is the burial site of St Peter, Apostle of Jesus and first Bishop of Rome.
Because of nearness of Papal residence, a number of liturgies and ceremonies which refer to Catholic cult are conducted in person by Popes. Because of the reason every year Easter celebrations connected with Paschal Triduum, Holy Week, Octave of Easter gather thousands of worshippers.
For hundreds of years, in front of the Basilica, on St Peter’s square they wait for results of Papal Conclave and participate ceremonies dedicated to canonizations of new saints.