Vatican Palace

Vatican Palace

Pope's residence since the late 14th century, located north of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. First enclosed in 850, the irregularly walled compound contains gardens (begun by Nero), courtyards, living quarters, galleries, the Vatican Museums and Library, and other facilities. The residence, with more than 1,400 rooms, was begun in the 13th century by Pope Nicholas III. Nicholas V founded the Vatican Library. Under Julius II, Giovanni dei Dolci built the Sistine Chapel, noted for its spectacular interior artwork including Michelangelo's ceiling; Donato Bramante completed the palace's northern facade and planned the immense Belvedere court; and Raphael painted his masterpieces in the palace. Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, employed by Paul III, designed the Sala Regia (Royal Hall) and Pauline Chapel, decorated by Michelangelo. Several chapels, along with Ottaviano Mascherino's famous Gallery of Maps, date from the late 16th century. Domenico Fontana added a wing of apartments and the present library building under Sixtus V. In the Baroque period, Urban VIII built the Matilda Chapel and, under Alexander VII, Gian Lorenzo Bernini built the Scala Regia (Royal Stairway).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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