Some of the finest architecture in Rome can be attributed to one man, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. His creations grace many streets and piazzas in the capital and nearby too. Ariccia, Frascati, and Castelgandolfo to name but a few towns where the Master Builder left his mark.
Baroque Rome, or more specifically Baroque architecture in Rome, brings three names to mind; Bernini, Borromini, and Pietro da Cortona, rivals who together helped shape "modern" Rome since their heyday in the mid-17th century. Bernini in particular is remembered as the founding father of what is known today as the Roman Baroque urbanist tradition. As a masterful architect, Bernini was granted many papal commissions, however, his work came under criticism from time to time. Pope Innocent X of the Pamphili papal family more or less fired Bernini - his misconstrued design of bell towers for St. Peter's Basilica was deeply unpopular. They never saw the light of day. However, his work on St. Peter's Square, Scala Regia, Chair of St. Peter, and Baldachin restored his reputation somewhat. Bernini's periodic work in the Vatican spanned forty years.
On this exclusive to Viator Bernini tour of Baroque Rome, we visit the site of his home at Via della Mercede 11, Spanish steps to see Fountain of the Old Boat ("Barcaccia") which he helped his father complete in 1627, Palazzo Barberini (designed with Borromini between 1629-1633, following the death of Maderno), Piazza navona to see his work on the Fountain of the Moors and of course the Fountain of the Four Rivers, Church of Santa maria della vittoria ("Ecstasy of Saint Teresa" marble), Church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale (designed by Bernini between 1658-1670), Church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte ("Angel with the Crown of Thorns" and "Angel with the Superscription I.N.R.I." - both originally destined for Ponte Sant'Angelo but kept by Pope Clement IX), Church of Santa maria sopra minerva ("Elephant and Obelisk", "Memorial to Maria Raggi"), St. Peter's Square (design, colonnades) and Basilica (including the Tomb of Pope Alexander VII, Baldachin, and "Saint Longinus"), Piazza Barberini to see Fountain of the Triton and Fountain of the Bees, and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (sculpture of Philip IV) where Gian Lorenzo Bernini was buried in 1680, to bring the guided portion to a spectacular conclusion. Your skip-the-line ticket for theBorghese Gallery and Museum (self-guided) will introduce you to Bernini's finest sculptures in marble of "David", "Apollo and Daphne", "Rape of Proserpina", "Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius", and "Truth unveiled by Time".
"Master Builder: Bernini's Rome" is fundamentally a walking tour, however, two or three short taxi rides may be necessary which are not included in tour cost.