Religion and history go hand in hand, and thus, Rome is awash in religious monuments and touring opportunities. The biggest, of course, is the enclave of Vatican City — including St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel — which will be explained in detail in Chapter 3.
Did Michelangelo carve Christ the Redeemer in one try?
Nope. The great sculptor had to abandon his first attempt while it was still in rough form because he found a black vein running through the slab of white marble. It marred the area that would have become Christ's cheek.
Basilicas offer interesting opportunities to explore historic artwork in addition to the city's religious tradition. Some good options include the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains and Santa Maria sopra Minerva, both of which are home to works by Michelangelo.
Basilica of St. Peter in Chains
This basilica, built in the middle of the fifth century, is best known as the home of Michelangelo's statue Moses. The basilica takes its name from the fact that it was built to house the relic of chains that bound St. Peter in Jerusalem. They're not open and in public view, but the statue of Moses is, and is well worth a look, since Michelangelo considered it to be his most lifelike creation.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva
This is the only Gothic church in Rome, and it's close to the Pantheon. The building houses Michelangelo's Christ the Redeemer sculpture, which stands to the left of the main altar. Renaissance painter Fra Angelico is buried here, as is Pope Paul IV.