Set into niches in the nave, tribune and transepts of St Peter's Basilica are the statues of thirty-nine saints. What the saints have in common is that they all founded religious congregations.
The statues are by a variety of sculptors, none of whom will be familiar to anyone outside the hallowed circles of art history, and were mostly carved in the 18th and 19th centuries.
A few of the saints, and the orders they founded, are very well known, such as St Benedict, St Francis, St Dominic and St Ignatius Loyola, but most are much less so. For example, I, for one, had never heard of St Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562), a Spanish saint who founded the Ordo Fratrum Minorum Discalceatorum, better known as the Alcantarini.
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
Search Walks in Rome: