The director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, has announced that the Bernini Colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square will undergo a four-year long restoration, as well as “all the saints and figures that crown the two arms of the colonnade.”
The restoration plan of the 248 columns was presented on June 11 at the Milan Fair. The colonnade was created by sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1657 and was approved by Pope Alexander VII. According to Paolucci, the restoration will focus on the roof and the gutters. Areas affected by sulphuric buildup will be cleaned too.
Bernini’s idea was to “shape the entire city of Rome with his hands as if it were an immense sculpture,” Paolucci said, and he wanted to “convert urban space into theatrical space, in order to make it something of another world, that would cause amazement and wonder.”