The Piazza San Pietro, which was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII (r. 1655-67), is one of the most beautiful spaces in Rome. It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and built between 1656 and 1667.
The piazza is made up of two distinct parts. The first part is an oval space (196 m by 148 m), which is bordered by two semi-circular colonnades, made up of a total of 284 columns. The second part, intended to link the basilica to the oval, is a trapezium flanked by two arms.
The 140 statues of saints and martyrs, which crown the colonnades, were sculpted to Bernini’s designs by his large team of assistants.