Octagonal Courtyard

 

Behind the succession of terraced areas, Bramante realized another courtyard, the Octagonal Courtyard, named after its shape by Clement XIV in 1772.

Initially it was called "Belvedere Courtyard", although is best known as "the courtyard of statues" because it was designed to accommodate the collection of ancient statues of pope Julius II.

His prestigious collection included famous pieces such as the "Apollo Belvedere", the "Hercules and Antaeus", and the "Laocoön and His Sons".

Near the Octagonal Courtyard Bramante built the famous "snail" staircase, contained in a tight cylinder with spiraling ramps supported by columns, that provided external access to the Vatican palaces for the many visitors ( travelers and foreign artists) who wanted to see the sculpture collection. Thus the old Casino of Innocent VIII was transformed and incorporated into the new complex.