By the spring of 1507, the first pier was finished. It stood 90 feet (27 meters) tall and measured 232 feet (71 m) around. Workers moved quickly to finish the other piers. Meanwhile, Julius worked on raising money for the project. As construction costs mounted, he asked many wealthy Italians and European royalty to contribute funds.
In 1512 Julius died without ever even seeing the dome on his grand basilica. Two years later, Bramante died. For the next thirty years, construction went ahead very slowly. New popes were elected. Architects, too, came and went. They changed the design and added their own ideas. During this time, the Vatican struggled to pay for the enormous church. Catholics in other parts of Europe argued that they should not have to pay for the Vatican’s architectural projects.