St Peter’s Basilica

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Donato Bramante, 1444–1514, Michelangelo Buonarotti, 1475–1564, Carlo Maderno, 1556–1629, and others

Rome, Italy; 1506–1626

The Roman emperor Constantine built the earliest church on this site in Rome, the traditional burial place of Jesus Christ’s disciple Peter. However, Constantine and his successors also moved the administration of the empire away from Rome to Constantinople and Ravenna, and the churches there grew in splendour, while Rome remained something of a backwater.

Divisions between the eastern and western Church were formalized as a schism in the eleventh century, and the leaders of the western Church later ...

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