About St Peter's Basilica
Holy Mass Saint Peter’s Basilica
This is probably the world’s most famous sculpture of a religious subject. Michelangelo carved it when he was 24 years old, and it is the only one he ever signed. The beauty of its lines and expression leaves a lasting impression on everyone. With this magnificent statue Michelangelo has given us a highly spiritual and Christian view of human suffering. Artists before and after Michelangelo always depicted the Virgin with the dead Christ in her arms as grief stricken, almost on the verge of desperation. Michelangelo, on the other hand, created a highly supernatural feeling. As she holds Jesus’ lifeless body on her lap, the Virgin’s face emanates sweetness, serenity and a majestic acceptance of this immense sorrow, combined with her faith in the Redeemer. It seems almost as if Jesus is about to reawaken from a tranquil sleep and that after so much suffering and thorns, the rose of resurrection is about to bloom. As we contemplate La Pietà which conveys peace and tranquility, we can feel that the great sufferings of life and its pain can be mitigated. Here, many Christians recall the price of their redemption and pray in silence. The words may be those of the “Salve Regina” or “Sub tuum presidium” or another prayer. After Peter’s Tomb, the Pietà Chapel is the most frequently visited and silent place in the entire basilica. It is said that Michelangelo had been criticized for having portrayed the Virgin Mary as too young since she actually must have been around 45-50 years old when Jesus died. He answered that he did so deliberately because the effects of time could not mar the virginal features of this, the most blessed of women. He also said that he was thinking of his own mother’s face, he was only five when she died: the mother’s face is a symbol of eternal youth.
Façade of St. Peter’s Basilica
Fountain of St Peter’s Basilica by Carlo Maderno
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Accessible areas of Vatican Museum map
Papal audience In Saint Peter’s Square, or Paul VI Audience Hall, or the Courtyard of the summer Papal Residence in Castel Gandolfo (usually in August)Entry: Free (by reservation only)Hours: Every Wednesday at 10:00Reservations: Write to the “Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, 00120 Città del Vaticano” or send request by fax: +39 06 69885863Ticket Collection: by the bronze door located after the metal detectors. Tickets can be picked up either the day before, between 15:00 and 19:00, or on the day of the event, between 7:30 and 10:00