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Discover Tempietto del Bramante, a Renaissance architectural masterpiece

Discover Tempietto del Bramante, a Renaissance architectural masterpiece

The off the beaten track sites in Rome are not one but many. This time, we are heading towards an uphill location on Gianicolo Hill, a fascinating hidden place with centuries of history to recount. The impressive Tempietto del Bramante is a small round building located at the very center of the San Pietro in Montorio monastery. This is one of the most beautiful constructions in Rome projected in Renaissance style. Located in a peaceful area of the Eternal City, Tempietto del Bramante appears as a timeless place with a breathtaking panoramic view nearby to admire Rome highlights from above.

The building was commissioned by Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II who wanted to fulfill a vow, to Donato Bramante, one of the major Italian architects of the Renaissance who also worked on the project of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Bramante built the Tempietto between 1502 and 1510 on Janiculum Hill. According to the local traditions, St.Peter’s died in the same place. Today, this building is part of RAE and Spanish belongings.

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Explore Tempietto del Bramante

The stunning Tempietto del Bramante has a circular and cylindrical shape: to see its wonders, it is necessary to enter the cloister of San Pietro in Montorio as it is located in one of its courtyards.

Despite its never ending beauty, it is quite small: its diameter is only 4 meters. This is because it was only meant to be a symbolic site and religious functions were held in a different area.

On the outside, the building is surrounded by an elevated columnade based on a few steps. The colonnade is made of 16 grey granite columns adorned with details that resemble Ancient Roman architecture. On the upper level, it is possible to admire a marvelous Dome.

On the inside, The Tempietto del Bramante is provided with many recesses; four of them host lovely sculptures depicting Evangelists. Over the altar instead, you can see a statue of St. Peter.

The floor instead is decorated with black and white marbles. The Tempietto del Bramante has an underground crypt whose center is supposed to be the original location of St. Peter’s cross.

There are many hidden symbols and meaning behind this construction: the crypt, the main building and the dome in fact stand for a different role of Church in history, while the outdoor columns are 16 because this is considered a perfect number.

What to see around Janiculum Hill

Janiculum Hill and the Tempietto del Bramante are located in central Rome, on the western bank of river Tiber. You can easily reach them either by walking uphill from Trastevere district or by the local bus 115.

On Janiculum Hill, you can also admire the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola that is just a few steps away from San Pietro in Montorio. This is a monumental fountain, built by Pope Sixtus V, which was meant to be the end point of Acqua Paola aqueduct.

On the highest point of the Hill, you can find an impressive bronze sculpture depicting Garibaldi on a horse. The statue is placed on a large white marble base.

If you don’t have much time in Rome, you can book a driver with a private luxury vehicle and a guide for Rome Private Tours, to see this and many other must-sees within a short distance such as Trastevere district, Campo de’ Fiori market and Tiberine Island. 

30th Sep 2021