Rome's Angels & Demons Secrets
The Basilica of St. Peter’s
The Site: St. Peter’s was built to impress: 198 feet wide, 145 tall, and 614 long (brass floor plaques show how much shorter other famous churches are), with cherubs the size of linebackers and enough great art to fill two museums.
The Plot: A key clue is uncovered in the warren of papal tombs called Vatican Grottoes, sandwiched between the current church floor and that of Constantine’s basilica, which it replaced.
The Scandal: Michelangelo’s Pietà (it’s the only work Michelangelo ever signed—look on the sash across Mary’s chest) has been behind bulletproof glass since 1972, when a crazed geologist attacked it with a hammer, hacking off Mary’s nose and fingers while screaming, “I am Jesus Christ!”