San Pietro in Vincoli

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Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli 4/A , Rome, Italy

San Pietro in Vincoli Rome Reviews

Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
Great chains Oct 19, 2010
Consecrated in 439, this church is classed as a minor basilica in Rome.

The tomb of Pope Julius II is housed here, and this is decorated with a statue of Moses that was carved by Michelangelo. The tomb is coin operated, which means you have to pay a Euro or so to get a few minutes worth of light shining on it. Though someone always seems to slot in a few coins, the lighting is a little too harsh in my opinion.

The main altar also has a showcase containing some chains in it. Although they were found a few centuries later, these apparently house the chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem and broke free. While the event is historically credible, the authenticity of the chains is questionable but it’s still nice to see them anyway!

A very nice church with some great art, and worth popping into.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic spocklog…
265 reviews
See the Statue of Moses Jul 03, 1998
San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains) is a small Church in Rome that doesn't look like much from the outside. It is located quite near the Colosseum, within walking distance, between Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via Cavour. As I said, it doesn't look like much on the outside, but inside there is Michelangelo's Statue of Moses on display. The sculpture, usually just called "The Moses" was begun in 1513 and completed in 1515.

The place itself was built at the request of Pope Julius II for his own tomb and the Moses was to be one of multi-statue grand funeral monument. None of this ever came to be and the statue is actually of a smaller size than originally planned too. It is an exquisite work seen up close and worth a small detour. There is usually speculation of why the statue seemingly has horns, but this is supposedly a representation of beams of light (power or radiance of the God I guess). I've heard it said that 'beam of light' and 'horn' are similar sounding words in hebrew, but not sure I buy that explanation.

Apparently there is some debate about a passage in Exodus 34:29-35, when Moses comes down from Mount Sanai with the 10 Commandments and his face 'shone' (radiated with light) or 'grew horns' depending on the translation of the Hebrew word 'karan'. There was this Saint Jerome, who did a 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible called the Vulgate, and he translated it as horns, and so the story goes as to why Michelangelo made it this way. I dunno - sounds sort of sketchy to me, and just not sure I buy into the story, but maybe so. Talk about things that make you go hmmm...

Anyway, it's a wonderful Michelangelo sculpture and a must see in Rome. Take a detour to this rather nondescript building from the exterior view, and this treasure waits within. I often ask people who visit Rome, did you see Moses at San Pietro in Vincoli? The reply is usually that they didn't know about it. So, I thought a review about it here would be worthwhile. There are other things to see inside this place, but the Statue of Moses is really the reason to make a detour and stop by here.
Michelangelo's Statue of Moses
San Pietro in Vincoli
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
spocklogic says:
Glad to hear you found the review interesting, David.
Posted on: Aug 06, 2013
davidx says:
Really fascinating
Posted on: Aug 06, 2013
spocklogic says:
It's a place that falls under the radar I guess (maybe because it is out of place and the building has a rather boring facade). I sort of stumbled on it myself and have been telling people about it ever since. Well, I get the word out here I guess, finally, and you can put it on your list next time in Rome, yes?
Posted on: Jul 04, 2013

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