The Four Altars of
(4h/5h on foot, 3h/4h by car or public
1. The Church of St. Maria del
3. The Chigi Chapel in St. Maria del Popolo, the first altar
“The Church of Santa Maria del Popolo stood out like a misplaced
battleship, askew at the base of a hill on the southeast corner of the
The famous statues of Habakkuk and the angel pointing the way down the
Path of Illumination, by G.L. Bernini.
The Chigi pyramid tomb with its numerous symbols and the vault referring
to zodiac signs designed by Raphael.
The skeleton covering the demon’s hole and subterranean crypt, where the
first cardinal is found dead with the ambigram seared on his chest.
2. St. Peter's Church and
4. St. Peter’s Church
“Crossing the open expanse of St.Peter’s square he sensed Bernini’s
sprawling piazza having the exact effect the artist had been
commissioned to create – that of humbling all those who entered”.
The largest Christian church in the world, mother to all Catholic
churches and also known as the “museum church”.
The Swiss guards
The papal altar “the golden coffer surrounded by ninety-nine glowing oil
lamps. It was said they would burn until the end of time.”
The baldachin (or canopy) covering the very tomb of St.Peter and hiding
place of the anti-matter canister.
The grand staircase.
The Church of St. Maria della Vittoria
2. The church of St. Maria
della Vittoria, where the third cardinal is burnt alive.
Inside the last chapel on the left (Cornaro Chapel), the astonishing
Ecstasy of St. Teresa, “a woman inflamed by passion’s fire”, Bernini’s
masterpiece in the field of sculpture and also “the most unfit ornament
ever to be placed in a Christian church”, according to an English
critic, who considered it as “pornographic”.
The triumph of Baroque style.
The Bernini Hotel
The location of the novel final scenes (high above, like some sort of
modern shrine to a bygone hero, an enormous neon sign blinked on the
roof of a luxurious hotel. the sign seemed eerily befitting “Hotel
4. The Fountain of The Four Rivers at
Piazza Navona WATER
2. Piazza Navona
Once a stadium built by order of Emperor Domitian, now one of the most
peculiar Roman squares. In the middle, the famous
3. The fountain of the Four Rivers
“A flawless tribute to water, Bernini’s fountain glorified the four
major rivers, one
of his most celebrated sculptures. Everyone who came
to Rome went to see it”.
“The fountain’s most arresting quality was its height. The central core
alone was over twenty feet tall – a rugged mountain of travertine marble
riddled with caves and grottoes through which the water churned”.
The four colossal male figures around portray the four continents:
America, Africa, Asia and Europe and, of course, the four most important
rivers of the Old World, i. e. the Rio della Plata, the Nile, Ganges and
Danube. In the middle, the obelisk with the dove atop. Again, Bernini.