Vatican museums and St.Peter’s walk

One day Rome walking tour: The Vatican museums and St.Peter'sVatican museums and St.Peter’s walk – One day Rome walking tour. On today, we will appreciate the Vatican museums, the Basilica of St. Peter, The Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo and still having enough forces, we can go to dinner in the area of Campo De’Fiori.

Vatican museums and St.Peter’s walk: morning

 I guess you do not know why this area is called “the Vatican.” The hollow of the Janiculum between S. Onofrio and the Monte Mario is believed to have been the site of Etruscan divination.” Fauni vatesque canebant.”Ennius. Hence the name, which is now only used in regard to the papal palace and the basilica of S. Peter, but which was once applied to the whole district between the foot of thehill and the Tiber near S. Angelo. Tacitus speaks of the unwholesome air of this quarter. In this district was the Circus of Caligula, adjoining the gardens of his mother Agrippina, decorated by the obelisk which now stands in the front of S. Peter’s.’ Here Seneca describes that while Caligula was walking by torchlight he amused himself by the slaughter of a number of distinguished persons—senators and Roman ladies.


Viale Vaticano
Vatican museum* (see Notes and opening hours)


Via Leone IV, 60
Hostaria – Pizzeria Dino & Toni

Vatican museums and St.Peter’s walk: afternoon


Piazza di San Pietro
The monumental place is enclosed by the imposing colonnades of Bernini, built under Alexander VII and Clement IX (1657 -1667). It is made by 284 columns and 88 pilasters and has 96 statues.

The obelisk

The great obelisk in the centre of the place was brought from Heliopolis to Rome by Caligula and was placed in the Nero circus. It was erected here by the arch. Domenico Fontana under the pope Sixtus V In 1586. Sixtus V. put a relic of the cross on the summit of the obelisk with the inscription “Ecce crux Domini – Fugite partes adversae – Vicit Leo de tribu Juda”. » This obelisk 25 meters high is the indicator of a meridian designed on the pavement by the astronomer Gigli (1817).

The fountain

The fountain on the rigt is by Carlo Maderno, and the one on the left is by Carlo Fontana and was erected under Clement X. The water came from Bracciano. The staircase of the basilica has 22 steps of travertine. It was built by Paul V. and renovated by Alexander VII from the designs by Bernini. The colossal statues were sculpted for the basilica Ostiense (S. Peter by de Fabris and S. Paul by Tadolini) but Pius IX insisted upon their rising here.

The facade

The facade was built by Paul V. from the designs by Maderno. Under the balcon in the, middle there is a sculpture by A. Buonvicini representing The Power or the Keys. On the summit there are 13 colossal statues: the Divine Master and the apostles. The watches were put on under Pius VI, in the spots where, from the designs of Maderno, two bell – towers were to be built. The great bell was made by Luigi Valadier and was put there by Pius VI.

Bernini, Saint Peter’s Square: Gianlorenzo Bernini, Saint Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro), Vatican City, Rome, 1656-67

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

castel sant'angelo

St. Peter’s Basilica
The statue was commissioned for the French cardinal Jean de Billheres, who was a representative in Rome. The sculpture, in Carrara marble, was made for the cardinal’s funeral monument, but was moved to its current location, the first chapel on the right as one enters the basilica, in the 18th century. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.

Michelangelo, Pietà: Michelangelo, Pietà, marble, 1498-1500 (Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker.

The Pietà was a popular subject among northern european artists. It means Pity or Compassion, and represents Mary sorrowfully contemplating the dead body of her son which she holds on her lap. This sculpture was commissioned by a French Cardinal living in Rome.
Look closely and see how Michelangelo made marble seem like flesh, and look at those complicated folds of drapery. It is important here to remember how sculpture is made. It was a messy, rather loud process (which is one of the reasons that Leonardo claimed that painting was superior to sculpture!). Just like painters often mixed their own paint, Michelangelo forged many of his own tools, and often participated in the quarrying of his marble — a dangerous job.

When we look at the extraordinary representation of the human body here we remember that Michelangelo, like Leonardo before him, had dissected cadavers to understand how the body worked.

Lungotevere Castello, 50
Castel Sant’Angelo
It was built by Hadrian in the Domizi gardens to serve as a tomb for him and for his successors, and was completed by Antonius Pius. The base was quadrangular; adorned with marbles. At the four cantons there were gigantic statues of men and horses. Around there were large pillars supporting the border surmonted with large statues, and on the summit of the cupola, there was the colossal statue of Hadrian, which, now is at the Vatican. The building had bronze balustrade with pillars on which were placed some gilden metal peacocks. The valley in the interior were covered with marble and the pavement was in mosaic. Under Honorius the building was converted into a fortress. In 537, during the siege of Vitiges, it was ruined. The statues were broken to serve as projectiles.

Ponte Sant’Angelo
It was built by Hadrian in 134 to go to his mausoleum, therefore it was called Adelins. There it was called pons Adriani or S. Petri, and in the XV century S. Angelo from the name of the next castle. It was covered with an elegant shed supported by 42 columns. Clement IX under the direction of Bernini made this bridge in the actual condition, exepted the two new arches. The statues which adorn the bridge were executed from designs by Bernini. The statues of S. Peter is by Lorenzetto, and the other of S. Paul is by Paolo Romano, who sculpted it in 1459. Excavations near the bridge, brought to life some objects (now at the Museo delle Terme} of the Ludi saeculares under August, Severus, Caracalla and Geta.

Evening Strolling around Campo De’Fiori

Largo Ottavio Tassoni
Via dei banchi vecchi
Via dei Banchi Vecchi 143


A 5-minute walk from Piazza Campo dei Fiori, you can find “Supplizio”, an old Roman style fryer that offers the tastes and smells of childhood.

Via del pellegrino
Piazza campo De Fiori
san'andrea della valle5
Piazza Vidoni, 6
Sant’Andrea della Valle

It was built in 1591 after designs of Paolo Olivieri. The chorus and the cupola are by Maderno, the facade is by Rainaldi. She second chapel (Strozzi) was constructed after Michelangelo’s designs; there is a monument to Father A. Ventura speaker and philosopher. The Four Evangelist is a wonderful work of Domenichino.


Ai Balestrari
Via dei Balestrari, 41

Notes and opening hours

Vatican museum* To jump the queue to the Vatican museums you should book online:

Saint Peter tomb extra visit

Saint Peter basilica Opening hours From 1 October to 31 March Daily 7:00 to 18:30 hours From 1 April to 30 September Daily 7:00 to 19:00 hours Tombs of the Popes From 1 April to 30 September Every day at 8:00 to 18:00 From 1 October to 31 March Every day at 8:00 to 17:30

Castel Sant’Angelo Lungotevere Castello, 50 Opening hours Tuesday / Sunday 9:00 to 19:30 Closed on Mondays; 12/25; 1/01. The ticket office closes at 18.30 Full price € 10.50 * The price of the ticket is subject to change during exhibi-tions.

Sant’Andrea della Valle Opening times 7.30 am – 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm – 19.30 pm, daily.

One day Rome walking tour: The Vatican museums and St.Peter’s