Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bernini and the Ponte Sant'Angelo

The bridge to the Castel Sant'Angelo (a.k.a. the Mausoleum of Hadrian) is no ordinary bridge. Pope Clement IX asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the famous sculptor, to design 10 statues of angels to line the bridge. From Bernini's designs, the pupils in his studio executed the sculptures in 1670. The angels tower over the sides of the bridge at a height of 15 feet. At the foot of each angel is an inscription in Latin. Pictured here is an angel with a lance by Domenico Guidi whose inscription reads: vulnerasti cor meum-"you have wounded my heart." The bridge, open to foot traffic only, was historically the route of pilgrims to St. Peter's. The original bridge was built in the 2nd century CE to provide access to Hadrian's tomb.

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