How St Peter Basilica Took Over 120 Years To Build

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St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring structures in the world. It is a testament to the skill and dedication of the architects, builders, and craftsmen who worked on it for over 120 years, under the reign of 21 popes and with the expertise of 8 architects. This magnificent basilica stands as a symbol of the power and influence of the Catholic Church, and it continues to inspire awe and wonder in all who visit it. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of St. Peter’s Basilica and explore how it took so long to build.

The Planning And Design Phase

The construction of St. Peter’s Basilica was a massive undertaking, and it required the efforts of many talented architects to complete. The first architect to work on the basilica was Donato Bramante, who designed the original plan for the basilica. Bramante’s design was a central-plan church with a dome that was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. However, Bramante died before his plan could be fully executed, and the task was passed on to other architects.

Most Famous Architects

One of the most famous architects to work on the basilica was Michelangelo, who was appointed as the chief architect in 1546. Michelangelo was responsible for designing the dome of the basilica, which is considered to be his greatest architectural achievement. The dome is 136 meters high and is supported by four massive piers.

Other architects who worked on the basilica include Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Each of these architects made important contributions to the design and construction of the basilica, and their work can still be seen in the basilica today.

The Cost Of Construction

The construction of St. Peter’s Basilica was not only a massive undertaking, but it was also a costly one. The cost of building the basilica was so high that it was financed by the sale of indulgences, which were certificates that granted forgiveness for sins. This practice was controversial and led to the Protestant Reformation.

Despite the challenges and controversies surrounding its construction, St. Peter’s Basilica stands today as a testament to the skill and dedication of the architects, builders, and craftsmen who worked on it. It is a symbol of the power and influence of the Catholic Church, and it continues to inspire awe and wonder in all who visit it.

The Construction Phase

The construction of St. Peter’s Basilica was a long and arduous process. The builders faced many challenges, including financial difficulties, political turmoil, and technical obstacles.

One of the biggest challenges was the sheer size of the basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, and building it required a massive amount of resources and manpower. The builders had to transport huge quantities of marble and other materials from distant quarries, and they had to employ thousands of workers to carry out the construction.

Another challenge was the technical difficulty of building such a large and complex structure. The dome of the basilica, designed by Michelangelo, was particularly challenging to construct. The dome is made of brick and is supported by four massive piers. It was built using a technique called “double shell construction,” which involved building two domes, one inside the other, to provide extra support.

Despite these challenges, the builders persevered, and the basilica gradually took shape over the course of more than a century. Each pope who came to power during this time contributed to the construction of the basilica in some way, and each left his mark on the building.

The Completion Of St. Peter’s Basilica

After more than 120 years of construction, St. Peter’s Basilica was finally completed in 1626 under the reign of Pope Urban VIII. The basilica was consecrated on November 18, 1626, and it has been a symbol of the power and influence of the Catholic Church ever since.

Today, St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Rome, drawing millions of visitors each year. It is a testament to the skill and dedication of the architects, builders, and craftsmen who worked on it, and it continues to inspire awe and wonder in all who visit it.


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