Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Bees of the Barberini Family: Public Heraldry in Rome

I noted in the comment box that Rome is a city filled with buildings where the symbol of the papal tiara and keys are near omnipresent. It would almost seem as though every other building sees the presence of it.

There was one other symbol which was quite prevalent in the city that I kept noticing, and that was of the "Barberini bees". What I mean by that is the heraldic symbol of the bees which is of the Barberini family. This is in great part due to the fact that the renaissance pope, Urban VIII, was a member of the Barberini family.

The Barberini family were Florentine nobles and one of the significant sites attached to their family in Rome was that of the Palazzo Barberini where their palace in Rome was also located (the large building to the left):

On buildings, the distinctive coat of arms was also present:

(A Barberini Cardinal)

Where it is perhaps most noticed, architecturally, is the base of the baldacchino of Bernini in St. Peter's Basilica:

Where one might not notice the symbol of the bees however, is as a detail upon the very columns of the baldacchino itself:

Further, I was quite intrigued to find the image as well on these vestments which came from the same museum beneath Santa Maria Maggiore (apologies again for the blurriness due to the glass covering the vestments):

Heraldry has always been an interest of mine, and its wide use upon vestments in Europe is something of great interest to me. I am pleased to see this being revived by Pope Benedict XVI.

This post pretends no major significance however. I offer it simply for what it is worth as a point of curiousity and obscure interest.

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