St Peter’s Square, Vatican City

Featuring towering columns that surround you, almost like arms embracing you inside the world’s smallest country, is St Peter’s Square—otherwise known as Piazza San Pietro.

Perhaps one of the most famous squares, St Peter’s Square has become quite the gathering spot for tourists—and with its location inside the Vatican City, just in front of St Peter’s Basilica, it’s easy to see why!

Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini with the support of Pope Alexander XII, the square was constructed between 1656 and 1667, with an emphasis on providing a large open space to enable the maximum number of people to watch as the Pope gave his blessing.

There are 284 columns with 140 statues of saints (created by the disciples of Bernini in 1670) above them. In the centre of St Peter’s Square, you’ll find an obelisk. Not the type you’ll see in a Marvel series, but an obelisk which was carried from Egypt all the way to Rome in 1586 and stands a whopping 25m tall.

St Peter’s Square was a place that S and I visited after a few days of roaming around Rome.

We were visiting Italy during the Easter holidays which, admittedly, wasn’t our best plan. It was pretty dang busy everywhere we went. But when you wake up in Rome and your boyfriend turns to you and says “shall we check out a new country today?” you can’t really resist—no matter how busy a place is!

After whizzing across the city on the Metro, we ventured into Vatican City intending to explore the museums and St Peter’s Basilica. But as we stepped into St Peter’s Square, we saw the queues.

Rows upon rows of people stood circling the square.

But with dimensions that boast a spectacular 240m width and 320m in length, St Peter’s Square could handle it. Which is more than can be said for me.

Now, as a British person, I’m pretty good with a queue.
But this queue, was something else.

It literally circled around St Peter’s Square and then some.
Which is not only incredibly overwhelming, but tests how much you actually want to see the Basilica and those museums!

Turns out we didn’t want to see them that much. So we left to go and get food instead.

Just kidding.
Not about the food part. We totally left after that to go and get food.
C’mon – we were in Italy!
But before we did that, we strolled around St Peter’s Square for a bit.

You see, St Peter’s Square got its name from Saint Peter (obviously), and ol’ Peter was supposedly an apostle of Jesus considered by numerous Catholics to be the first Pope. And the reason that St Peter’s Square was so busy on the day we visited, is because the actual Pope was there and had hosted a speech earlier that day.

We didn’t go because, well, we didn’t want to.
But many people did, and even though the speech had ended hours before we arrived, it was pretty cool that he had brought so many people together in one place.

Unfortunately, it meant that our plans to go sightseeing weren’t going to happen that day, which was a shame as we only had one day spare to explore before we caught the train to Venice. But luckily we managed to find space on a tour for the next morning, so we switched our plans around and booked it in! Only to discover that this tour not only covered all the key sights in Vatican City—it included a queue jump.

I swear I’d never been so happy.
But I’ll delve into those details in the next post because this one is about St Peter’s Square!

 

After wandering around the square for a while and watching a duck play in the fountain (I think it was a duck. S is asleep as I’m writing this so I cannot confirm with him. HEY S, IF YOU’RE READING THIS – WAS IT A DUCK?) we decided to bid farewell to St Peter’s Square and venture off on a quest to tick of a culinary bucket list item

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Have you ever been to St Peter’s Square? If so what did you think?
Let me know in the comments!