The Church of St Peter & St Paul
The modern church of Santi Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense stands in the area of Rome known as EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma).
The church sits atop a ridge overlooking the Tiber valley and is visible from a distance. It is approached on the east side by a long stepped ramp, at the top of which sit two colossal statues of St Peter and St Paul, the work of Domenico Ponzi and Francesco Nagni.
The design of Santi Pietro e Paolo was entrusted to a team of architects led by Arnaldo Foschini. They opted for a plan based on a Greek Cross in emulation of the original plan for the new St Peter's Basilica. Building began in 1938, but the second world war intervened and the church wasn't completed until 1958.
A bronze statue of an angel, the work of Carmelo Abate, stands atop the dome. The angel holds in one hand a sword and in the other a pair of keys, the attributes of St Paul and St Peter.
The bronze doors at the entrance bear reliefs depicting scenes from the lives of the two saints. Above is the coat of arms of Pope Pius XII (r. 1939-58) and a bas-relief depicting the Granting of the Keys to St Peter, the work of Giovanni Prini.
The interior of the church has a circular layout, with four arms extending from the circle. One of the most striking aspects of the decoration is an enormous sixteen-sided light fitting, which is suspended from the dome.
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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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