San Pietro in Montorio and the Tempietto

san-pietro-montorio-©-Donatello- Trisolino
© Donatello Trisolino

If you want to discover an unusual spiritual shelter far from the rush of the city, forget about the seven hills of Rome for now and go even higher. Hiking up the steep roads of the Gianicolo, you will stumble upon Donato Bramante’s “little temple,” nestled into the courtyard of the larger San Pietro in Montorio church. Perfectly proportioned, the delicate “Tempietto” was built in 1502 as a commemorative tomb and is a treasure of High Renaissance art.  The building is actually in the courtyard of the adjacent Spanish Academy.

This Renaissance temple brings ancient Rome to life with its pure, modest beauty. According to legend, the walls of the almost pocket sized church mark the place where St.Peter the apostle was crucified upside down. It’s doll-like size makes it impossible to get lost in the stomach of this church, unlike the grand St.Peter’s Basilica which was also named after the apostle.

Those who wish to linger and enjoy the special atmosphere of the Tempietto need to switch into early bird mode. Visitors in the afternoon will likely find the doors closed but there is plenty to do on the Gianicolo to keep you busy. Check out the towering mausoleum of Garibaldi and the stunning view of the historical center of Rome. For night visitors, the moonlight glowing enchantingly on the warm facade will compensate for missing the frescoes. Whenever you get a chance to get here, spiritual and romantic renewal is guaranteed.


Piazza San Pietro in Montorio, 2 (Gianicolo)

How to get there

Metro Piramide and a short bus ride

Opening hour

Every day 8.30am-12pm; 3pm-4pm

Guided tours must be arranged previously by phone (06.5813940)


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