St. Peter’s Square lies in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, the great shrine to St. Peter, the first pope. It is here that a newly-elected pope first greets the world, and also here where the pope regularly meets and blesses the faithful. Built in the 17th century by one of the greatest architectural geniuses of all time – Gian Lorenzo Bernini – St. Peter’s Square never fails to impress the visitor. Despite the magnificence of this square and the beautiful symbolism behind the design, there is an even bigger story to be told here.
Two thousand years ago St. Peter was crucified upside down in this square – once the site of Nero’s circus. He was then buried nearby in a shallow grave. His humble resting place would become the most important shrine in Rome, and is still to this day the nexus of Catholic Christianity. You see, if the fisherman from Galilee was not martyred here, Rome would not be what it is today. The world would not be what is today.
This audio tour tells the story of St. Peter’s Square, highlighting the history that traces the beginnings of the Catholic Church back to Peter, the first pope, and this back to Christ himself.