The Making of St. Peter’s Basilica
History, Controversy and Genius at Work
By Francesco Bonavita, Ph.D.
Tuesday, May 3 at 7 pm
The Basilica of St. Peter in Rome is one of the most celebrated churches in the world. Its construction began in the fourth century AD and it has evolved ever since. Its lower base is the equivalent of three soccer fields, which can receive thousands of pilgrims each day. Its interior is as impressive as the Sistine Chapel that forms the heart of the Vatican Museums.
The church is not just the majestic holy site of Roman Catholicism. It is also a testimony of nearly 2,000 years of world history. This presentation will explore the origins of the church and the principal players who created and defined its aesthetic and physical structure. As with any endeavors of this magnitude, the making of the Basilica is not void of controversies, as it involved artistic personalities as diverse as Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini, as well as assertive popes who injected their own vision of how the Basilica ought to be shaped.
The Basilica houses a wealth of treasures, many of which have come to light within the last few decades. The aim of this presentation is to offer a deeper appreciation of the Basilica, which may not be apparent upon visiting the grounds, even through the eyes of a good tour guide.