St. Peter’s Basilica (Italian: San Pietro in Vaticano) is a major basilica in Vatican City. St. Peter’s Basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter – the apostle, who is considered the first pope, was crucified and buried in 64 A.D. St. Peter’s Tomb is under the main altar and many other popes are also buried in the St. Peter’s Basilica. In 324, Emperor Constantine began construction on a great basilica over the tomb. In the mid-15th century it was decided that the old basilica should be rebuilt, this was abandoned after a short while. The history of the design and construction of this new building spans several centuries and involved several of the most brilliant architects, including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini, of the early modern period. Construction on the current building began under Pope Julius II in 1506 and was completed in 1615 under Pope Paul V. The building itself is truly impressive.
The largest church in the world, it has a 218 meter long nave. The basilica’s dome is the world’s largest measuring 42m in diameter and reaching 138 meter high (more than 450ft). The interior, which includes 45 altars, is decorated by many famous artists. Some of the most important works in the church are the Pietà by Michelangelo, the papal altar by Bernini, the Throne of St. Peter – also by Bernini and the Monument to the Stuarts by Canova.
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