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    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

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    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

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Architecture of Vatican City

Vatican Architecture - St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square

Vatican City is built on what is believed to be the tomb of St. Peter and in the basement of St. Peter's Basilica there are architectural remains from this ancient Roman time period, but little else remains from that time. Likewise, there are a few medieval remnants, such as the city walls and some of the towers, but much of what is visible in Vatican City today was built during the Renaissance.

Obviously, the most well-known building in Vatican City is St. Peter's Basilica (1506-1626) and this structure is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture; it was built by a combination of architects, including Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (commonly known simply as Michelangelo) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini among others.

The Apostolic Palace was also begun during this time and continued on for many years (1589-1800s), giving this building a number of architectural styles, but its masterpiece is the Renaissance Sistine Chapel (1473-1481). Although the Sistine Chapel is an architectural masterpiece, it is best known for its famous frescos by Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, and the most famous painting, the Last Judgement painted by Michelangelo on the chapel's ceiling.

Throughout the rest of this small country are numerous other buildings in a number of architectural styles, but most of the city was built during the Renaissance and the buildings are in this style, including the Vatican Libraries. Of the buildings that are not in the Renaissance, or earlier styles, many are Baroque, including the colonnade in St. Peter's Square.

This page was last updated: October, 2013