Piranesi: The 18th century visionary behind Rome's magic keyhole view

On any given day, you can see a line of people standing before a large green gate in Rome’s hilltop Aventine district, even though the gate always stays shut.The attraction is the gate’s keyhole, which offers a spectacularly magnified view of the dome of St Peter’s Cathedral, framed by a thick tunnel of laurel trees, in a telescope-like effect.The optical illusion has become one of the highlights of the Roman tourist trail, and it is the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, a 17th century neoclassical architect and printmaker.While Venetian-born Piranesi – the 300th anniversary of his birth fal…

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