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.
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.
“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.
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.
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...
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
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).
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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...)
There is so much to see in the large, open piazza. Dominating the center is the 36 metres high oblelisk from Heliopolis, brought to Rome by Augustus, first diplayed in Circus Maximus. Moved here to this piazza by Pope Sixtus V in 1589. (Do you know people, that everytime you go to their house, they've rearranged their furniture? Well, that's what the ancient Romans were like, always moving things around...)
As luck would have it, for us, the obelisk (July '06) is covered for restoration!!! But we could pet the four water spitting lions at the base...
This large square is a crossroad of three streets very important for shopping and make up the so-called trident (via del babuino, via del Corso and via di Ripetta).
The splendid setting of this place is featured by the huge egiptian obelisk wich dominates the scene just in the middle of the square and the twin churches located beside the three streets I've mentioned. Piazza del Popolo is popular also to be a typical meeting point for the roman people for socializing or when the want to celebrate some important national victory in some sports (expecially football!)