After exploring the exhibition spaces of the Reale Accademia di Spagna, we made our way into the courtyard-like space that houses Bramante’s masterpiece! Various monuments adorn the walls, along the side of the space.
This was not my first visit to the Tempietto, but on the earlier occasions I had made the climb up the hill to the church, the Tempietto had been closed, and so, I had only been able to admire it from outside the gate, between the church and the Accademia. Needless to say, I was thrilled that now we were going to be able to actually step inside of this beautiful, small jewel of a building.
The Tempietto di Bramante is considered to be the first great building of the High Renaissance. It was built on the supposed site of Saint Peter’s martyrdom. The Tempietto was commissioned by King Ferdinand of Spain, and dates from 1502. This has long been a destination for pilgrims coming to Rome, along with the nearby Basilica of Saint Peter’s, which is where the saint is buried. From the outside, it seems as if there are two stories to the Tempietto, as there is a balustrade that runs along an upper segment. However, this is a false perspective, as there are no stairs leading up, and there is also no doorway from the interior to the balustrade. It is all simply a visual embellishment.
Inside of the small, circular space, you will find an altar with a statue of Saint Peter. In the niches to the sides of the altar, there are statues of evangelists.
In the back of the Tempietto, there are stairs that lead down to the crypt, where one can see a circle in the middle of the floor, which marks the spot where Saint Peter’s cross was stuck into the ground. Even if the crypt is locked, and you are not able to enter it, as it was on our visit, you can still see the circle, and the actual spot of Saint Peter’s martyrdom, by looking through the circular grating in the middle of the floor of the Tempietto.
We left the Tempietto, and the Reale Accademia di Spagna, and once again passing by the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, we began to head back down towards Trastevere, having decided that we would continue to explore more of the Janiculum Hill the following day.
We decided to have dinner at a restaurant I had been to, a few times before, but which seemed to have recently changed owners, as the menu had been greatly expanded, going from what was a rustic pizzeria serving only pizzas and grilled meats, to a more traditional menu, with a broad selection of pastas, and other dishes. We dined on bresaola with arugula and shaved cheese, grilled fish, and a nice grilled steak. Of course, we had to save a little room for desert. We had a nice time, with good food, and a great atmosphere. It was a fitting end to a fun day!
Next up: On our final day in Rome, we head back up to the Janiculum Hill, and explore more of lovely Trastevere!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Rome, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!