PHILATELIC CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION IN THE RESTORATION OF THE COLONNADE OF SAINT PETER'S SQUARE IN THE VATICAN

PHILATELIC CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION IN THE RESTORATION OF THE COLONNADE OF SAINT PETER'S SQUARE IN THE VATICAN  

In 1656 Gian Lorenzo Bernini, commissioned by Pope Alexander VII, began to study the task of renovating Saint Peter's Square. The renowned architect worked on the project for eleven years. Given his profound experience and his endless series of geometric observations, he was able to resolve the problem of the erroneous alignment of the pre-existing architectural elements (the facade, obelisk, buildings, etc.). The ultimate solution was to create an oval square with doric columns and travertine pillars, united with a simple entablature and crowned with a series of statues of the Saints. Despite an initial lack of appreciation by some for the new design, the colonnade succeeded in creating a visible display of elegance and grandeur which has made this square one of the most unique in the world. It also added a most basic element to the architectural environs, that of the Church's embrace of the world which Bernini himself described this way: "the church of Saint Peter's, almost as if the mother of all others, has to have its own portico which demonstrates precisely its welcome with open arms". Following a four-month pilot project, in 2009 a complex restoration project of this grandiose structure began. The work has taken place in sections (the same technique used by Bernini himself) in order to reduce the impact on visiting pilgrims and tourists.The marble is being treated and cleaned to return to their original splendor not only the 284 columns, but also the 140 statues of the Saints above. With this extraordinary postal emission, the Philatelic Office wishes to offer its own contribution to the restoration project, also with the participation of collectors and all those who love art and culture. The philatelic certificate will be available in two different versions: one bearing "Officium Philatelicum et Nomismaticum and the other one to be personalized with the full name of the person participating in the restoration.