This remarkably lovely round temple is impressive despite its small size. Only eight meters in diameter and thirteen meters high, the temple, called a rotunda, is still an important work of the High Renaissance period. It was built in approximately 1502 by Donato Bramante on a commission from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. It is located along with the church of San Pietro in Montorio, on the Janiculum, one of the fabled seven hills of Rome. The temple stands on the spot where it is believed that Saint Peter was crucified. This building marks the beginning of the High Renaissance period that would soon sweep through Rome and Europe. Due to its oddly small size, it has little practical use as a regular church, but it is still a delight to behold. Its form is perfectly classical. It is proportioned perfectly, with Tuscan columns that are topped with a dome.
Originally, the temple was to be surrounded by a colonnaded courtyard, but Bramante's plans were never fulfilled. The area surrounding the temple is a wonderful point from which to view all of Rome laid out below you and the church has some notable artwork including the Raymondi Chapel by Bernini and paintings by several 16th and 17th century masters.
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