The delightful cloister (chiostro) of the church of Santa Maria della Pace, the work of Donato Bramante (1444-1514), and a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, was commissioned, circa 1500, by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa (1430-1511).
Built on a square plan, the cloister is made up of two storeys. The lower storey is a spacious vaulted portico with four arches on each side. The arches are articulated with Ionic pilasters. The upper storey is an open gallery with alternating Corinthian pilasters and columns and a wooden ceiling.
The most unusual feature of the design is the placing of a column above the centre of each of the ground-floor arches, thus breaking the hallowed rule of void over void and solid over solid.
The upper floor of Bramante's cloister is home to a charming café.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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