The Vatican Museums contain masterpieces of painting, sculpture and other works of art collected by the popes through the centuries. The Museums include several monumental works of art, such as the Sistine Chapel, the Chapel of Beato Angelico, the Raphael Rooms and Loggia and the Borgia Apartment. The Pinacoteca, or Picture Gallery, is situated in a building that dates back to 1932 and that was designed by the architect Beltrami. It is connected to the Museum complex (at the entrance of the Quattro Cancelli) by an elegant portico. The Christian, Profane and Missionary-Ethnological Museum contains a collection of artistic and archaeological objects, some of an ethnological nature, that were once housed in the Lateran Palace.
Saint Peter’s Basilica interiors, characterized by huge mosaics, are sites of some of the most famous art works from all over the world, for example, Bernini’s baldachin and Michelangelo’s Pietà. The atrium is considered one of the most remarkable works of Carlo Maderno and was built between 1608 and 1612. The central door is by the Florentine sculptor Antonio Averulino, known as Filarete. It dates from 1455 and comes from the ancient Constantinian church. Saint Peter and Saint Paul are represented here with scenes from their martyrdoms. The Latin cross structure of the interior dates back to the early 1600’s and was designed by Maderno, who completed the basilica and built the nave and the two aisles, forming a whole with the Michelangelesque central octagon. It is an immense and magnificent space, richly decorated with Baroque stuccos, mosaics and statues, almost overwhelming at first glance.
Darin and I loved seeing the rich history of the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. It was truly a sight to see that can't be put into words and photos don't begin to do it justice. If you ever get the chance to explore these two sights then don't hesitate to take the time to see all they have to offer.