JUBILEE CULTURAL ROUTES

THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE POPES. JUBILEE WORKS

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The places mentioned in this itinerary are all open from Tuesday to Saturday. The Vatican Museums are closed on Sunday. The Church of SS. Trinità dei Monti is closed on Monday.

The Jubilee has been part of the history of Rome since 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII established the first Holy Year. From 1309 to 1377, however, serious political circumstances forced the Pope to a long exile in Avignon and Rome fell prey to provincialism and decay. As the Pope returned, however, the Jubilees turned into opportunities for great construction works, leading the way to centuries of rebirth and transformation. Indeed, they drove the urban, economic, cultural and artistic development of the city: activities boosted in the years preceding one such event and many other achievements followed as a sort of side wave the conclusion of a Jubilee, also thanks to the increase in the Church’s profits.
From Jubilee to Jubilee, Rome gained a new street layout to the pilgrims’ advantage, new bridges and new hospitals, and most places of worship were refurbished by major artists. Some churches and basilicas were even built anew, while other building were renovated only in some specific areas: facades went from simple to monumental, interiors underwent major refurbishing, churches were decorated with magnificent domes, while the concept of “opening to the other” incorporated in the very idea of the Jubilee, translated in new, monumental entrances in front of many places of worship, such as the famous colonnade designed by Bernini in Saint Peter’s square for the Holy Year 1675. Thanks to Bernini the monumental renovations demanded by several Popes in the previous century finally harmonised into a single concept: the unusually elliptic shape of the colonnade recalls two large, outstretched, motherly arms, warmly welcoming the pilgrim at the heart of Christianity itself, and represent the will to make great architectonical and artistic creations into symbols of human kindness.

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