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Vatican, Buildings

Gianlorenzo Bernini, papal apartments, Vatican Gardens, Papal Palace, Tiber River

Vatican City is situated on Vatican Hill in northwestern Rome, just west of the Tiber River. It is surrounded by medieval and Renaissance walls and has six gates. Many of the most renowned artists and architects of the Italian Renaissance were commissioned by popes to work on the Vatican's buildings. The most imposing and important edifice is Saint Peter's Basilica. Built for the most part between the 15th and 17th centuries, and designed by artists, including Bramante, Michelangelo, and Gianlorenzo Bernini, it is the world center of Roman Catholic worship. In front of the basilica is the great Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter's Square). The other major edifice is the Palace of the Vatican, also known as the Papal Palace. It is a complex of buildings that contains more than 1,000 rooms and houses the papal apartments, the government offices of the Roman Catholic church, several chapels and museums, and a library. The most famous portions of the palace are the Sistine Chapel, with its great ceiling frescoes painted by Michelangelo (restored 1980-1990); and Raphael's Rooms, papal apartments with frescoes painted by the Italian artist Raphael. The Vatican's museums are outstanding and include the Gregorian Museum of Egyptian Art; the Gregorian Museum of Etruscan Art; the Pio Clementino Museum, with a superlative collection of antiquities; the Chiaramonti Museum; and the Vatican Pinacoteca, with representative works by Italian masters. The Vatican Library has a priceless collection of ancient manuscripts and more than 1 million bound volumes. Also within the Vatican's walls are the Government Palace and the Vatican Gardens.

Article key phrases:

Gianlorenzo Bernini, papal apartments, Vatican Gardens, Papal Palace, Tiber River, Bramante, Italian masters, Vatican Library, Saint Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo, popes, chapels, gates, Roman Catholic church, government offices, centuries, Vatican City, architects


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