Behind the statues

After a dawn visit to a tourist free St Peter's Square, breathtaking in golden hour sunshine, my camera and I climbed to the dome.

 Looking down on Rome I was struck by the line of statues beneath me, along the facade of the basilica, standing majestically above the piazza. Amongst all the grandeur, they too had a story to tell.

And it's possible to stand immediately behind the statues and share the view these travertine sculptures have enjoyed since the 17th century. 

Between 1612-14 Pope Paul IV commissioned Ambrogio Buonvicino from Milan to design the statues, which were sculpted by sculptors each paid the same amount, regardless of the size of the sculpture.

Each saint is holding a reference to the way they were put to death, the symbols of their martyrdom cast in bronze.

Christ the Redeemer to the left and St. John the Baptist beside him. St Peter the 'Prince of the Apostles' is not represented instead St. John the Baptist is standing in the place of honour to the right of Christ.

Black and white image, silhouetting the central facade statues with Piazza di San Pietro beyond.

Six metre (19 feet) high statue of Christ the Redeemer on the balustrade above the facade of St Peter's. It is the work of Cristoforo Stati and Simeon Drouin.

Rome, September 2015