Barberini Bees

You may notice while you are walking around the city that you see a lot of bees stuck on everything. Three bees on a shield with two keys and a funny egg shaped crown on top. These are mostly visible on buildings and fountains.


This is the papal coat of arms of pope Urban VIII or otherwise known as Maffeo Barberini. He was responsible for a lot of the architecture and for encouraging many talented artisits and sculptors to come to Rome and leave their talent behind for many generations after to enjoy.



Among the few artists he had brought to Rome were Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Bernini and Borromini. They were all given commissions for various artistic endeavours including, Fontana del Tritone, Palazzo Barberini and various other works in the Vatican. He was also the last pope to claim lands for the papacy by force. When you go have a look at the Pantheon you can thank Urban VIII for ruining it. He is responsible for having removed all the bronze decoration and rooftiles and melting it down to make cannons and various other things from bronze including the canopy above the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.


He was however a great patron of the arts so he can be at least respected for some of the fantastic fountains, sculptures, frescoes and paintings that were created directly because of his patronage. However, there is a saying that “What the barbarians did not do to Rome, the Barberinis did” So the three bees have a love hate relationship with the city of Rome.