St. Peter's Square Colonnades

Attraction, Historic
Encompassing Saint Peter’s Square are two colonnades which were designed by Bernini to symbolize the embracing maternal arms of the Catholic Church. The colonnades are comprised of four rows of columns, each column with 1.5 meters in diameter and 20 meters high.

Adorning the rooftop of the colonnades are 140 statues of various saints consisting of former popes, martyrs, evangelists and other Christian figures. The statues were created by Bernini and his students over a span of some 40 years. 

On the ground, between the obelisk and each fountain, are marble discs marking the geometric “foci” of the elliptical shaped square of St. Peter’s. When standing on these discs, the columns of the colonnades appear perfectly aligned so that only the closest row of columns can be seen – indicating once again the architectural brilliance of Bernini.
  • The Colosseum
  • The Roman Forum
  • The Trevi Fountain
  • Piazza Navona
  • Vatican Museums
  • The Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica
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English, Italian
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Bernini’s thoughts, maybe
Bernini’s thoughts During my many trips to the Vatican, I have always been inspired by the Plaza leading to the entrance to the Basilica and the enormity of the place that was built for St. Peter. He, being represented (by a huge statue) on the left as you enter the building holding the KEY’s to the kingdom of heaven, that were given to him by our Lord Jesus Christ. It has always been explained to ... more me that the colonnade was built to represent the arms of the Church reaching out to embrace all that were coming to see the grandeur of this place. The spectacular seat of St. Peter, the Baldacchino covering the High Alter and grave of St Peter. One can wander for hours and perhaps days just taking in wonders of this Church, kind of like heaven. In my later years of going back there with the aid of google maps, and looking right down on the plaza from above, I think I saw what Bernini’s intent was with the Colonnade and the plaza. The arms as explained were not arms, but what seems to me to be the KEYHOLE for the Key of Peter to open the doors to the kingdom of Heaven and all the Saints atop to guard the precious place it is. Bart Scivally ( Little Rock, AR May 31, 2020