St. Peter’s, the architectural wonder that dominates the skyline of Rome, is more accessible than you think.
The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia houses its own capolavoro of the iconic basilica and its adjacent piazza. Just take a short car ride to west suburban Stone Park and an invigorating ascent to the third floor, and there it is in all its glory.
The magnificent 1:100 scale replica was conjured out of hand-carved soft wood over a five-year period in the 1940s by the father-and-son team of Attilio and Lucio Savoia. It was donated to the cultural center in the 1960s.
The exquisite miniature is accurate to the smallest details, including the scores of statues that line the colonnades surrounding the piazza and the many lamps that illuminate the square.
Background information about the creation of the miniature is posted near the exhibit along with facts, figures and anecdotes about the original in Rome. Also on display is a replica of the baptistry, cathedral and famous Leaning Tower in Pisa carved out of soapstone.
Tours in English and Italian of this stunning masterwork can be scheduled between 1 and 5 p.m. any Wednesday throughout the year. Call 708-345-5933, ext. 8, to make reservations and to learn about applicable COVID restrictions.
St. Peter’s is renowned as a place of pilgrimage. Until we next return to Rome, St. Peter’s at the Italian Cultural Center can be our place of pilgrimage.