Above: Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne at the Borghese Gallery

Every visitor to Rome knows the name Michelangelo. Many of his masterpieces are destinations in their own right, and those like the Pietà are often hard to glimpse through the throngs of tourists. But far fewer people go to Rome to admire the works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, even though he, too, made an immense contribution to the fabric and artistic patrimony of the city. Somehow, his style seems to accord less well with contemporary taste. Bernini lacks Michelangelo’s superstar status, despite his having designed the square in front of St. Peter’s with its massive double colonnade, as well as the monumental baldachin that stands over the altar of the cathedral, its serpentine columns created from bronze that once covered the roof of the Pantheon. Bernini also designed many of Rome’s most famous fountains, including the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) in the Piazza Navona, topped by an Egyptian obelisk.

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