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La Pieta, Vatican City

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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  • When you're in the Basilica, feel free to spend some time to discover this magnificent statue. It will be even more beautiful with the explanation of a guide. To discover with children.
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  • Beautifully crafted sculpture. Detail is amazing. It's been set behind a structure to keep it safe as it was damaged by vandals in the past.  more »
  • Not to sound like a snob but you really can feel the emotion of this piece. If you’re into art (probably even if you’re not) it’s a must see!  more »

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