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Basilica Di San Pietro In Vincoli Rome

The Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli Rome is one of the oldest examples of an early Christian church in the world. Some also remember it by the name 'Basilica Eudossiana', because it was commissioned by the Empress of the same name, wife of Valentinian III.

The location is easily accessible from the area of the Roman Forum: while you are leisurely strolling along the street, admiring the symbols of imperial power, you can see a narrow staircase on the right, dedicated to St Francis of Paola, and from here make a small diversions on your itinerary to visit this striking monument of sacred architecture.

Although the church was founded in the 5th century AD, it has undergone numerous interventions over the centuries that have altered its original appearance. In the 8th century it was almost entirely rebuilt, while in the 16th century the façade and portico were rebuilt and, finally, the interior was renovated in the 18th century.

The high altar preserves for more than 1,500 years a legendary relic: the two chains used to imprison St Peter in Jerusalem. The name of the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli Rome is said to derive from these two objects that 'bound' the saint. Every year, thousands of faithful come to venerate the relics and special celebrations are held on 1 August.

The most sensational work in the complex is Michelangelo's Moses. The statue, placed in the right transept in 1545, was sculpted in 1513 as a decoration for the funeral monument of Pope Julius II, commissioned to the master Buonarroti.

The large architectural complexwhich was to constitute a mausoleum, was set aside in preference to channelling resources towards the reconstruction of St Peter's Basilica. You will undoubtedly be awed by the majesty and beauty of the figures sculpted by Michelangelo: the evident veins and tense muscles give a real and dynamic appearance to the scene.

Lesser known, but equally worthy, are the 7th century Byzantine mosaic depicting St Sebastian and the splendid crypt, located under the main altar.

An adviceDon't stop at appearances and explore the complex carefully; from the façade it may look like any other modern church, but the interior will surprise you.

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