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Luca Viotto directed this magnificent documentary produced in conjunction with Vatican TV, detailing the history of Rome’s four major Basilicas, St. Peter’s, St. John (in the) Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and the magnificent art which is enshrined in each of them. Since the buildings themselves are works of art with magnificent frescoes, moldings and sculptures as part of the structure of each, you are given unique points of view rarely seen by the public in both the visuals and the commentary given by papal and art historians. Given that some of these Churches are centuries old and were subject to the political and cultural changes of their times, some by fire, human destruction and architectural renovations, it is quite remarkable that they’ve survived at all. The restoration of La Pieta after it was brutally vandalized some thirty years ago, is so remarkable as to be impossible to tell that any such occurrence had ever taken place. Antonio Paolucci, Paolo Portoghesi, Claudio Strinati and Micol Forti are the art historians all giving fascinating commentary on the history of not only the buildings but the times in which they were built and survived.

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