The grand dome of St Peters Basilica was completed during the reign of Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-90) and for the next 250 years it was a traveller's (at least one arriving from the north) first view of the Eternal City.
Monte Mario is the highest hill (139 m) in Rome, lying on the northwest side of the city. In the middle-ages it came to be known as Mons Gaudii or Monte della Gioia (Hill of Joy), for, at their first sight of Rome and St Peter's, pilgrims would fall to their knees, kiss the ground and say a pray.
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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