Matteo Barberini was born in
Florence, Italy, in 1568 into a wealthy merchant family. He became
nuncio to Paris where he developed a lifelong affinity for France for which he
was criticized during the Thirty Years' War.
Pope Urban VIII was a diplomat, poet, and musician. His
patronage of the arts restored many of Rome's buildings as well as introduced
the baroque style of architecture to Rome.
Pope Urban VIII commissioned Bernini to redesign Saint Peter's
Square from a square to the ellipse it is today. Further, Pope Urban
VIII consecreated Saint Peter's Basilica on November 18, 1626, after more than
100 years of reconstruction.
Pope Urban VIII's papacy is
marred by outrageous nepotism in his restoration projects. He severely
overtaxed the populace to pay for his family and friends' work on these
Although Pope Urban VIII was an early admirer and supporter of Galileo, Pope Urban VIII oversaw
Galileo's trial on heresy charges at the Inquisition because Galileo defended
Copernicus' theory that the earth orbited the sun contradicting
Saint Thomas Acquinas who was greatly influenced by Aristotle. Pope John Paul II rehabilitated Galileo in 1982.
Pope Urban VIII died July 29, 1644.