Rome Travel Guide

Rome Sights

San Pietro in Vincoli

  • Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli Map It
  • Monti
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 06/20/2007

Fodor's Review

Michelangelo's Moses, carved in the early 16th century for the never-completed tomb of Pope Julius II, has put this church on the map. The tomb was to include dozens of statues and stand nearly 40 feet tall when installed in St. Peter's Basilica. But only three statues—Moses and the two that flank it here, Leah and Rachel—had been completed when Julius died. Julius's successor as pope, from the rival Medici family, had other plans for Michelangelo, and the tomb was abandoned unfinished. The fierce power of this remarkable sculpture dominates its setting. People say that you can see the sculptor's profile in the lock of Moses's beard right under his lip, and that the pope's profile can also be seen. As for the rest of the church, St. Peter takes second billing to Moses. The reputed sets of chains (vincoli) that bound St. Peter during his imprisonment by the Romans in both Jerusalem and Rome are in a bronze and crystal urn under the main altar. Other treasures include a 7th-century mosaic of St. Sebastian, in front of the second altar to the left of the main altar, and, by the door, the tomb of the Pollaiuolo brothers, two lesser 15th-century Florentine artists.

Sight Information


Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, Latium, 00184, Italy

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Published 06/20/2007


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