We make our next stop in our Terrazzo Around the World series at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. Terrazzo has been around for centuries, adding prestige to some of the world’s most famous landmarks such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hoover Dam, and George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estates. But in this feature, we head back to Italy where terrazzo was first formed.
Terrazzo was created in the 15th century when Venetian marble workers would take pieces of marble scraps and later reuse the material for their own terraces. At this time, much of Europe was heavily influenced by Renaissance art and architecture. Many of Italy’s architecture, including its churches, its town halls and villas began to show new developments in plan and structure. It was also a period where decorative art flourished. Painting, sculptures and even terrazzo floors were often associated with these architectural structures. Among these structures is St. Peter’s Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, Italy. To this day it remains one of the largest churches in the world and considered one of the Renaissance’s most famous monuments. It is also the burial site of St. Peter, who was supposedly the first Pope. The exterior of the building is extraordinary with its central dome drawing attention from locals and tourists. Inside the church, the interior is decorated with marble, many sculptures and reliefs. But one artist brought terrazzo to this monumental building. His name is Michelangelo.
Like Leonardo Di Vinci and Raphael, Michelangelo was among the great artists whose work was showcased during the Renaissance. Both a sculptor and a painter, Michelangelo drew inspiration from the human body, producing exquisite works like David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. While the Pieta, a sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus, is credited as the most important piece of art of St. Peter’s Basilica, the terrazzo floors are often overlooked. The terrazzo added a decorative pattern across the building’s floor, making it a sight to see for tourists. The building has required maintenance over time, but the terrazzo floors remain in good condition to this very day.
Take an inside look of St. Peter’s Basilica: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150720-Vatican-360-Degree-Tour-Saint-Peters-Basilica/
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