looking out on Rome from Vatican City -- best viewed large to better see the details;
click here for the original, life-sized photo of Bernini's exedrae in front of St. Peter's.
"...the austere simplicity of [Bernini's] designs of 1656, carried out over many years, for the enclosure of the whole piazza in front of Saint Peter's by means of two facing exedrae of Tuscan columns, each four columns in depth, supporting an unbroken entabulature, surmounted by a statue above each column on the inner row...The dynamism of the design lies in the power of its movement; it suggests two gigantic arms outstretched to embrace the approaching pilgrim. The intended climactic effect of this experience of space and light, intense when one emerged into the piazza from the narrow dark adjacent streets, was unfortunately lost when the area between the piazza and the Tiber was modernized in the 1930s."
-- Frederick Hartt, ART: a History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture
for more information on Bernini's brilliant work here, read this.