The twin colonnades of Piazza San Pietro were commissioned by Pope Alexander VII (r. 1655-67) and designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). They were built between 1656 and 1667, a gigantic undertaking that nearly bankrupted the papacy.
Bernini designed the colonnades, each of which is made up of four rows of columns (13 m high), to symbolise, in his words, 'the maternal arms of Mother Church'.
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 and
small-group walking tours
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