ST. PETER’S BASILICA, ROME, VIEW FROM DOORWAY: It’s not easy finding a different angle from which to shoot this most iconic building. I shot this one late one evening at the end of stroll in the Eternal City.
When St. Peter’s was built, a dense group of buildings—much of it housing, lay in front of the great square, blocking a decent distant view of the basilica. In 1651 the St. Peter’s Building Commission considered the building of a major thoroughfare between the Borgo Vecchio and the Borgo Nuovo to provide a longer vista. The plan was dropped due to cost and politics. Many more popes considered other options in subsequent years. It was Benito Mussolini who revived the idea and pushed ahead, establishing the view we have today. Construction began— with destruction– on October 29, 1936 when Mussolini himself wielded a pickaxe to begin tearing down the structures that blocked the view.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, Nikon A-FS 10-24mm lens at 24mm, 1/13 sec, f3.5, ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
DOME AND BALDACCINO, ST. PETER’S BASILICA, ROME: Michelangelo became the chief architect at St. Peter’s in 1546. By the time of his death in 1564, the dome was still not complete. The vault was completed in 1590 by Giacomo della Porta. Domenico Fontana then built the lantern and the dome was complete by 1593. The interior of the dome is 42.3 metres in diameter and rises 120 meters above the floor. The baldacchino sits directly below the dome and is the main visual focal point of the great church. It is made from almost 1,000 tons of bronze that was removed from the roof of the Pantheon. Designed by Bernini, the baldacchino was completed in 1633, and is accented with gold leaves. It stands 30 metres tall. The beautiful spiral columns are similar in style to the original St. Peter’s Basilica.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, Nikon A-FS 10-24mm lens at 10mm, 1/13 sec, f3.5, ISO 800. John Ecker | pantheon photography
BASILICA OF ST. JOHN LATERAN: December 27th is the feast day of St. John the Evangelist. This church is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist. It is one of the four major basilicas in Rome. And, while most may think that St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is the “Pope’s Church”, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is actually the Pope’s ‘home’ cathedral. Built by the Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century, San Giovanni in Laterano was the first church to be officially built in Rome. The cathedral was dedicated on November 9, 318. It was embellished with decorations given by Constantine, including seven silver altars with seven gilded candlesticks inlaid with images of the prophets. The building has undergone many changes over the centuries following periods of neglect, invasion (Vandals) and natural disasters. Arches are adorned with reliefs of angels, including those shown in this photo. No two angels look alike. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70s, Nikkor 18-55mm lens at 51 mm, f4.2 1/13 sec.
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography