Towards the end of the fifteenth century--that is to say, at the epoch
when our history opens the Piazza of St. Peter's at Rome was far from
presenting so noble an aspect as that which is offered in our ...
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Towards the end of the fifteenth century--that is to say, at the epoch
when our history opens the Piazza of St. Peter's at Rome was far from
presenting so noble an aspect as that which is offered in our own day to
anyone who approaches it by the Piazza dei Rusticucci.

In fact, the Basilica of Constantine existed no longer, while that of
Michael Angelo, the masterpiece of thirty popes, which cost the labour of
three centuries and the expense of two hundred and sixty millions,
existed not yet. The ancient edifice, which had lasted for eleven
hundred and forty-five years, had been threatening to fall in about 1440,
and Nicholas V, artistic forerunner of Julius II and Leo X, had had it
pulled down, together with the temple of Probus Anicius which adjoined
it. In their place he had had the foundations of a new temple laid by
the architects Rossellini and Battista Alberti; but some years later,
after the death of Nicholas V, Paul II, the Venetian, had not been able
to give more than five thousand crowns to continue the project of his
predecessor, and thus the building was arrested when it had scarcely
risen above the ground, and presented the appearance of a still-born
edifice, even sadder than that of a ruin.

As to the piazza itself, it had not yet, as the reader will understand
from the foregoing explanation, either the fine colonnade of Bernini, or
the dancing fountains, or that Egyptian obelisk which, according to
Pliny, was set up by the Pharaoh at Heliopolis, and transferred to Rome
by Caligula, who set it up in Nero's Circus, where it remained till 1586.
Now, as Nero's Circus was situate on the very ground where St. Peter's
now stands, and the base of this obelisk covered the actual site where
the vestry now is, it looked like a gigantic needle shooting up from the
middle of truncated columns, walls of unequal height, and half-carved
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013161306
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 7/31/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,323,434
  • File size: 2 MB

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    Posted March 26, 2012

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