THE BRAMANTE STAIRCASE
Before you think, ‘That’s no secret; I’ve walked down the Bramante Staircase in the public collection of The Vatican!’ You would be right – and wrong. The modern Bramante Staircase is an architectural triumph in and of itself, and guides the visiting crowds in and out of The Vatican Museums. However, there is an original, 16th century staircase, hidden behind closed doors, a marvellous and evocative piece of interior architecture.
The original Bramante Staircase was designed by an architect of the same name, Bramante. The staircase was built to connect Pope Julius II’s residence, the Belvedere Palace, with the outside world, and was large enough for a carriage ascend. Bramante developed a design that would allow the paths of the ascenders and descenders never to cross, much to the amazement of architects of the age.
Today, many lovers of art and science delight in just how much The Bramante Staircase resembles a double-helix, a strand of human DNA. Of course, there was no way for Bramante to have known that in the Renaissance, but today, the staircase appears a subtle peon to humanism, as it enchants in its warm orange and yellow tones, supported all the while by elegant Doric columns.