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The focal point, however, is the façade of the basilica, from whose central balcony the Pope delivers his blessings and announces beatifications and canonizations.
The Vatican Museums have the largest collection of ancient sculpture in the world, mainly found in Rome and the surrounding areas, most of it displayed in the systematic arrangement designed by Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI from 1769 to 1799.
These galleries contain such a wealth of magnificent and significant pieces that even a list of the highlights is a long one.
On either side of the oval are fountains, and in the center is a 25.5-meter Egyptian obelisk brought from Heliopolis by Caligula in AD 39 and set up in his circus.
It was moved here in 1586, no small task in those days as the monument weighs 350 tons.
Frescoes in the second room, Sala della Segnatura, were painted by Raphael between 15 and along with the Sistine Chapel, represent the supreme achievement of Renaissance painting.