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La Pieta, Vatican City

#6 of 45 in Things to do in Vatican City
Monument · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
A masterpiece of Renaissance art and arguably one of the most moving sculptures ever created, Michelangelo’s La Pieta depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus Christ. This statue is the most notable work inside Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Michelangelo was only 24 when he carved this complex work of art from a single slab of marble. He chose to show the Virgin as a youthful woman in repose, rather than the older, grieving Mary of most other works on the same subject. Unique among Michelangelo’s sculptures, this is signed as his own, allegedly to prevent viewers from confusing his work with that of a competing sculptor. Legend has it that Michelangelo broke into the church after finishing his work and hurriedly chiseled his name into the sculpture before anyone noticed he was there. Make La Pieta a centerpiece of your Vatican City vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Vatican City trip planner.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
4,550 reviews
  • Such a wonderful & beautiful piece of art, greeting you right next to the main entrance of the Basilica!!! Even at times of Covid-19 it is still well worth a visit!!! Less pilgrims than usual...  more »
  • The Michaelangelo Pieta is a very touching sculpture, which depicts the virgin Mary holding the body of Jesus in her arms, after it was taking from the cross. Very emotional piece and is housed...  more »

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