Here is a “cheat sheet” to help with dating and understanding the ages of different monuments, buildings and works of art you will see in Rome and other parts of Italy.
The coat of arms are a visual representation of each reigning pope.
The pope’s family name is given at the top, the dates of his reign at the bottom as well as the name taken by each pope.
The most famous (or infamous) is probably the Spanish Borgia pope Alessandro VI, with the original “red bull”.
The Della Rovere pope Giulio II is denoted by the oak tree (rovere) which is seen especially in the Civitavecchia, Vetralla and Viterbo areas.
The dragon of Gregorio XIII Boncompagni (responsible for the Gregorian calendar ) marks several palazzi and monuments in Vatican and the city of Rome.
The Borghese family also had a pope, Paolo V and the Barberini pope Urbano VIII ‘s bees can be seen on the baldacchino in St. Peter’s basilica.