Piazza del Popolo, Rome

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  • WheninRome's Profile Photo

    "Square of the People" - Piazza del Popolo

    by WheninRome Updated Feb 8, 2009

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    Fountain in Center of Piazza del Popolo
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    Piazza del Popolo was one of my favorite squares in Rome, second only to Piazza Navona. We spent a majority of New Year's Eve here and enjoyed it greatly. The people watching and fireworks were wonderful.

    In the main picture accompanying this tip you will notice a lion statue. This statue is part of a fountain in the middle of the square. There are actually 4 different lions at each corner of the fountain and a large obelisk in the middle of the fountain (the obelisk was originally constructed in Egypt and when brought to Rome was first located at the Circus Maximus).

    If you visit Piazza del Popolo, be sure to climb atop one of the lions (watch your step though!) and take a seat on its back and have your picture taken.

    Piazza del Popolo is very close to the Spanish Steps and is an important part of Rick Steve's "Night Walk". Though we didn't follow Mr. Steve's "Night Walk" exactly as suggested in his book, we did do a lot of night walking through here on New Year's Eve and I would highly recommend this as a place to visit at night.

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    New Year's Eve at Piazza del Popolo

    by WheninRome Updated Jan 19, 2009

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    Piazza del Popolo After Fireworks
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    There are 2 places to be as a tourist in Rome on New Year's Eve: Piazza del Popolo for the fireworks and partying or the Colosseum for the concert and partying.

    We chose Piazza del Popolo. It was pretty crazy. From 21:00 until 24:00 the Piazza was full of partygoers setting off their own fireworks. Immediately after midnight the government-sanctioned fireworks went off and it was at least a half hour show. One of the best fireworks displays that I have ever seen.

    Coming from the U.S., where public drinking of alcohol is illegal, it was surprising to see alcohol being drank in public. It was obviously not illegal as many police were nearby and watching the events.

    There were a couple vendors set up (1 near the Metro stop at Piazza del Popolo and 1 near the Spanish Steps) where you could purchase sandwhiches, champagne and beer.

    WARNING: It was impossible to get a cab after midnight. We saw more taxis than you could imagine all week when we didn't need them, but after midnight on New Year's there was not a single available one to be found. It was a long walk back to our hotel.

    It was great to experience a universal event like New Year's Eve in another country. We had a wonderful time that we will never forget.

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    Public Square

    by muratkorman Written Oct 5, 2008

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    This used to be the gathering place for public when Roman Emperor was addressing. It is comparatively large to the other squares in Rome. The symmetry catches the eye. The fountains on both sides are perfect for refreshing your feet after a long day of walking.

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    Some souvenirs!

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Aug 11, 2008

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    Rameses II's obelisk in P. delle Popolo
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    Even the most avid souvenir collector would have trouble matching the efforts of some of Rome's emperors , and modern day luggage allowances would be stretched to the limit too. Finding somewhere to put an Egyptian obelisk once you got it home could pose a problem as well.

    None of these things got in the way of the Romans who, like almost all who have followed them to the great Kingdom on the Nile, fell under the thrall of this extraordinary civilization. It wasn't just Cleopatra who bewitched the greatest generals of their day - the first emperor, Augustus, was sometimes portrayed as an Egyptian Pharaoh, the gods of the Nile were admitted to the Roman Pantheon and it was Augustus who brought two Egyptian obelisks back to Rome, the first of many that appeared in the city, both authentically Egyptian and Roman copies, over the next 300 years. By the mid-16th century, all but one were in ruins, broken and scattered, exotic remnants of the Rome that was gone.

    Thirteen are standing today, repaired and placed in strategic places in the urban renewal that took place under Pope Sixtus V, their pagan origins muted by the addition of Christian crosses and papal symbols. You'll find some of them at:

    Piazza del Popolo - one of those brought to Rome by Augustus in 30BC, this obelisk was first erected by Rameses II in Heliopolis and dedicated to the sun. In Roman times it stood in the middle of the Circus Maximus.

    Piazza delle Quirinale - this is one of a pair of obelisks that guarded the entrance to Augustus' mausoleum. It has no heiroglyphs and is flanked by huge sculptures of Castor and Pollux that were moved here from the Baths of Constantine at the same time as the obelisk was erected.

    Piazza Navona - currently rising out of a hoarding rather than the magnificent Bernini fountain which is currently undergoing restoration. A Roman obelisk, it was originally erected by Domitian after the fire that destroyed much of the city (including many of the buildings in the Forum) in 80AD.

    Piazza della Rotunda (outside the Pantheon) - a small Egyptian obelisk from Heliopolis.

    Piazza di Santa Maria sopra Minerva - another small Egyptian obelisk, this one sits atop a delicious sculpture of an elephant - the idea of Bernini, though not his work.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo, the People’s Square

    by von.otter Updated May 31, 2008

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    Piazza del Popolo, May 2007
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    “All roads lead to Rome, but our antagonists think we should choose different paths.”
    — From “Le Juge Arbitre, Fable XII” by Jean de la Fontaine

    At the heart of the very large Piazza del Popolo is the city’s tallest obelisk, over 85 feet (see photos #1, 2 & 5). Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome, shipped it to Rome from Heliopolis after he conquered Egypt. Carved in the 13th or 12th century BC for Pharaoh Rameses II, the so-called Flaminia Obelisk, is the city’s second oldest. In 1589 Pope Sixtus V had it moved here to help pilgrims coming from the north locate the plaza.

    In 1562 Pope Pius IV commissioned architect Nanni di Baccio Bigio to construct a gate (see photos 3 & 4), the Porta Flaminia, as part of the Aurelian Wall. (This was the starting point of Ancient Rome’s Via Flaminia; it was built in AD 220 to connect Rome with the Adriatic coast.)

    At the invitation of Pope Alexander VII the newly-converted Roman Catholic Queen Christina of Sweden came to Rome and arrived through this gate in 1655; Gianlorenzo Bernini decorated the gate for the occasion. The family crest of Pope Alexander VII, six hills and star (see photo #4), that Bernini added can be seen still.

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  • rita_simoes's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by rita_simoes Written Feb 2, 2008

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    view from Villa Borghese
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    Walking all the way up Via del Corso, from Piazza Venezia, you will find one of the biggest squares in Rome. I like this square a lot because it has a lot of space, and there are also some nice shadows and fountains to refresh yourself.

    One thing we did a couple of times was to buy a mozzarella sandwich from a little grocery shop on a side street of Via del Corso (where it cost 10 times less than in the main street) and sit on the steps of one of the twin churches.

    We did this one time before heading to Villa Borghese, and it was well thought because, even though it looks just around the corner, you have to sweat a lot to get to the entrance of the park! There, you are offered an amazing view of the square and its surroundings.

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    Piazza del Popolo

    by fairy_dust Written Aug 24, 2007

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    Twins?
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    This is one of the most beautiful public squares I've ever seen. It's huge, with a cobblestone ground, an obelisk in the middle, and surrounded by churches, statues, and ancient architecture. It's also popular as a meeting place though it wasn't very crowded on the evening I saw it. This place is absolutely beautiful, yet ironically it was used for public executions in the olden days...

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    Piazza del Popolo

    by Santini738 Written Jul 15, 2007

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    Piazza del Popolo
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    The Piazza del Popolo is a square in Rome, Italy. The name in modern Italian literally means "piazza of the people", but historically it derives from the poplars (populus in Latin, pioppo in Italian) after which the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in the northeast corner of the piazza, takes its name.

    The Piazza lies inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls, once the Porta Flaminia of ancient Rome, and now called Porta del Popolo. This was the starting point of the Via Flaminia, the road to Ariminum (modern Rimini) and the most important route to the north. At the same time, before the age of railroads, it was the traveller's first view of Rome upon arrival. For centuries, the Piazza del Popolo was a place for public executions, the last of which took place in 1826.

    The layout of the piazza today was designed in neoclassical style between 1811 and 1822 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier,who demolished some insignificant buildings and haphazard high screening walls, to form two semicircles, reminiscent of Bernini's plan for St. Peter's Square, replacing the original cramped trapezoidal square centred on the Via Flaminia. Valadier's Piazza del Popolo, however, incorporated the verdure of trees as an essential element, and conceived his space in a third dimension, with the building of the

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    Piazza del Popolo

    by Redang Updated Jun 18, 2007

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    Piazza del Popolo (Rome, Italy)
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    The first pic shows a general view of the square.
    The second, a part of it.
    The third, S.M. Maria dei Miracoli church.
    The fourth, S.M. del Popolo church.
    The last, Porta del Popolo.

    Metro: Flaminio (line A).

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    Visit the "Twin Churches" in the Piazza del Popolo

    by skywalkerbeth Written Jun 17, 2007

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    There are two beautiful churches standing side by side in this Piazza (there is yet another one on the far side of the Piazza which contains work by Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini...).

    The "twins" are pictured here... Santa Maria di Montesanto on the left, and the other, Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Bernini had a hand in these churches, although they are by Rainaldi.

    This area is called the Tridente, and, among other things - you can do some serious shopping here! Via del Babuino is down the left side (if you are looking at my photos) and down that street you will find the Spanish Steps (along the way, many shops and good restaurants). Via del Corso is down the center - my hotel, Hotel Parlamento, is just off Via del Corso. Via Ripetta is the far right street. My favorite (so far) pizza restaurant is on Via Ripetta (Pizza Re).

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by leffe3 Updated May 27, 2007

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    Piazza del Popolo is a bit of a modern day oddity. It was the main centre for Roman life for centuries, the gate Porta del Popolo the northern entrance to the city, it was the main execution spot, the stunning Santa Maria del Popolo (begun in 1472) stands proudly overloking the piazza, the Egyptian obelisk in the centre has stood here since 1589 (moved from Circus Maximus). Yet 21st century Piazza del Popolo, given its oval shape at the beginning of the 19th century, is one giant carpark!

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    Hip to be Square!

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated May 16, 2007

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    The Piazza del Popolo is the most beautiful square of Rome - marked by a monumental obelisk in the center of the square. From the square three main roads lead into the city, the most famous the Via Corso (a famous commercial centre). My favourite place in Rome.

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  • mattreider's Profile Photo

    Popolo Party

    by mattreider Updated Dec 8, 2006
    Water-spewing lion

    The Piazza del Popolo, or "Plaza of the People" or, "Popular plaza" was once the first sight people saw of Rome, as they came from the empire by Roman Road through the northern gate.

    In 1816 Giuseppe Valadier redesigned Piazza del Popolo around the obelisk, placed here in 1589.

    The two, almost twin, churches of S. Maria di Montesanto (left) and S. Maria dei Miracoli (right) were designed by Carlo Rainaldi, but Gian Lorenzo Bernini gave advice on how to emphasize the similarity between the two churches. S. Maria di Montesanto was erected first (1678) and S. Maria dei Miracoli a few years later (1681).

    We met our first VTourister, Sarah, at the Piazza fountain under a water-spewing lion.

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    The Genius of Leonardo da Vinci

    by Rhondaj Written Sep 30, 2006

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    Il Genio di Leonardo da Vinci - entrance to museum

    A small museum with real working models (some true to size) of da Vinci's machines. Tricky part is, some machines you can tinker with, others say "Do Not Touch". It was amusing to watch the two young curators admonishing the ones who touched the forbidden items.

    Two favorite items: the closet of mirrors- check yourself out; and the gruesome horse-drawn wagon with scythes for mowing down enemies at the front, rear and sides.

    Open daily 9:30 to 8pm.

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    East Side of Popolo Piazza

    by Rhondaj Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    East Side
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    From the east side it is possible to take steps and paths to the Pincio gardens above the piazza. It is all up hill....

    Before we leave the piazza, here is an interesting, gruesome fact: For centuries this piazza was the place of public executions. (I felt no cold chills of any ghosts while here though...)

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