Piazza del Popolo, Rome

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  • icunme's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo - Popular with the people

    by icunme Updated May 22, 2006

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    Easter Sunday - obelisk cloaked for her facelift
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    (popolo=people, but in this case Popolo derives from pioppo=poplar) - Either way, everyone loves this huge Piazza so we can say it is popular with the people - Romans and tourists. This looks like an aerial view but it was taken on Easter Sunday 2006 from a vantage point at Villa Borghese overlooking the Piazza. The photos will be updated when work on the obelisk is complete.
    A bit of background that I found - In 1816 Giuseppe Valadier redesigned Piazza del Popolo and the Pincio (the hill overlooking Piazza del Popolo) for Pius VII. At the center of the square the obelisk was placed here in 1589 by Domenico Fontana as part of the urban plan of Sixtus V. It was originally erected in Heliopolis and it was brought to Rome and placed in the Circus Maximus by Augustus. It is dedicated to Rameses II and is topped by the mountains and the star of Sixtus V.
    This first view shows her obelisk properly clothed on Easter Sunday as she undergoes her facelift. In the second view from within the Piazza you will note Valadier designed two hemicycles (semi-circles) (here the side towards the Pincio) around the obelisk to which he added fountains and Egyptian lions. Detail of the obelisk is shown in photo 3. The statues of the four seasons (below Summer) are located at the beginning of the streets going up to the Tiber or the Pincio. Two large marble groups are at the center of each hemicycle. In the 4th photo you can see a detail of Neptune between two tritons, a typical Baroque theme developed in neoclassical style. The inner side of Porta del Popolo (photo 5) celebrates the entry into Rome of Queen Christina of Sweden in 1655, but the decoration (by Bernini) is actually a celebration of Alexander VII, whose coat of arms had six mountains and a star. However in the festoon he united the oak branches of Alexander VII with the ears of wheat of the Vasa (or Wasa), the Swedish royal family.

    Photo and reference text by permission Robert Piperno to be used for non-commercial purpose only.

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    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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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by sue_stone Written Nov 8, 2004

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    Piazza del Popolo
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    Piazza del Popolo is a large piazza that was originally the site of festivals and public executions.

    It is home to four Egyptian-style lion fountains and one of Rome's oldest Obelisks. At one end of the square there are 2 symmetrical churches.

    It is located close to the Villa Borghese and not far from Piazza di Spagna.

    We wandered up here for a look and were impressed by the Piazza's spaciousness and variety of features.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Gateway to the North

    by goodfish Updated May 15, 2013

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    Piazza del Popolo from the Pincio
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    Through a portal in 3rd-century Aurelian Walls, many a traveler to ancient Rome would have arrived at this piazza as it was the celebrated entrance/exit of the Via Flaminia: the main route to the north. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was also the site of public executions. Bernini's monumental Porta del Popolo is on the north side of the piazza and leads to Piazzale Flaminio and the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. In the center of the piazza is an Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II that Caesar Augustus brought to Rome and which originally stood in the Circus Maximus. To the south are the not-quite-twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto, both dating from the 17th century.

    The piazza was overhauled in the early 1800's by Giuseppe Valadier, who cleared away some old structures to create a more open space. He also connected Pincian Hill, to the east, to the piazza with a staircase and winding road up to terraced gardens and Piazzele Napoleon I's panoramic vistas of the city. If you're up to climbing the steps, this is a fun and scenic way to access Pincio Gardens, the piazzele and Villa Borghese.

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-architettonici-e-storici/piazza-del-popolo.html

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  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo

    1658 - twin churches.

    by belgianchocolate Written Jul 18, 2004

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    .
    In 1658 ,' pope Alexander VII' ordered the design
    for these two churches.'Carlo Rainaldi'
    was the chosen one. He had to be creative.
    The pope wanted an harmonious square
    with two churches.
    the 'Santa Maria in Monsanto' on the left and
    on the other side of the via del Corso the
    'santa Maria in Montesanto'.

    But the surface for both churches wasn't the
    same. The space for the 'Santa maria in
    Montesanto' was smaller then for the other
    church. That is why one on the left has an
    oval dome and the 'Santa Maria dei Miracoli'
    has a round one.

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    piazza del Popolo

    by mindcrime Written Mar 20, 2011

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    Porta del Popolo
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    Piazza del Popolo is People’s square (popolo is people in Italian) but according to my guide book its name comes from poplars, the flower plant.

    The square is very big and its one of the places that people gather for major events like New Years Eve, football celebrations etc 2 centuries before it was a place for public executions too but that cant be seen anymore (don’t bother to look for them in Colosseum, nothing there too).

    You can see the Porta del Popolo(pic 1) which was the Porta Flaminia in ancient Rome when the square was just inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls that surrounded the city. The walls were demolished many centuries before but the square is enclosed by semicircular walls that date from the beginning of 19th century.

    The morning we visited there was a small festival about babies (pic 2). I think the square is ugly but it looked much better during the night(pic 3).

    In the center of the square you can see the obelisco Flaminio(Popolo Obelisk )(pic 4), a tall Egyptian obelisk that was erected by Rameses II from Heliopolis although 3 sides of it are carved by Sety I and only one by Ramesses. It was brought to Rome in 10BC but originally it was set up in the Circus Maximus until 1589 when it moved here.
    At the bottom of the obelisk is the Fontana dell’Obelisco, where you can have your photo over the lions like every tourist does :) The four small fountains are 4 lions over different stepped plinths at the four corners of the obelisk.
    Another fountain on the square is Fontana del Nettuno (pic 5), where you can see Neptune and 2 dolphins.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by MM212 Updated Aug 18, 2009

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    Fontana del Nettuno (Apr 07)
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    One of the more famous squares in Rome, Piazza del Popolo was designed to resemble St Peter's Square. A 3000 year old Ancient Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus to be placed in the centre of Circo Massimo, was moved to Piazza del Popolo in the 16th century. It is mounted in the middle of the square over a fountain by Domenico Fontana. Surrounding the piazza on one side are the twin domed churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto, and on the other are Porta del Popolo and the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, to which the piazza owes its name. Overlooking the piazza is Pincio Garden, a small park on a hill adjacent to Villa Borghese. Piazza del Popolo is a popular gathering place and it is also where New Year's Eve outdoor festivities take place in Rome.

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  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo

    1589 - The Flaminio Obelisk

    by belgianchocolate Written Jul 18, 2004

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    If you have ver been in Rome you know there
    are a lot of 'obelisks' decorating the squares.
    Well if you rule the world you can take whatever
    you want with you? True or false.

    The one on 'Piazza del Popolo' comes from
    Heliopolis where 'Seti I and Ramses II' had
    placed it in front of the temple of the sun.
    We are talking 1200 years before our calender
    even started.

    'Augustus 'still neede some decoration for his
    'Circus Maximus.' After the emperor it was the
    pope who had an eye on this obelisk and in
    1589 'Sictus V'b placed it on the Piazza del Popolo.

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  • ruki's Profile Photo

    PIAZZA DEL POPOLO

    by ruki Written Aug 16, 2005

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    It’s one of the most characteristic areas of neoclassical Rome. On the square there are statues of the Four Seasons, while the center is emphasized by the two fountains, Neptune and the Tritons and Rome between the Tiber and the Aniene River.

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  • Rhondaj's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by Rhondaj Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    Just inside the gate

    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...

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  • Paisleypaul's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by Paisleypaul Written Jul 18, 2005

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    Looking East from the Piazza - look up.....
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    Every one writes about the amount of walking you do in Rome - Via del Corso is one of the longest thoroughfares - time to dip your feet in the cooling waters of the fontana either side of Piazza del Popolo

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  • chiara76's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by chiara76 Written Nov 7, 2004

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    The square.

    The place with the Egyptian obelisk, nice fountains and few nice Churches like the Church Santa Maria del Popolo where you can see two great paintings of Carravagio.
    There are also two churches called Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Monte Santo which close the street Via del Corso.
    The gate on this square was designed by Michael Angelo.

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  • codrutz's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by codrutz Updated Feb 11, 2006

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    Piazza del Popole was the first place that I see in Rome. This piazza starts with a wonderful gate (see additional pictures). Piazza del Popolo is very big and generally not crowded. From here starts the famous Via Veneto (see additional pictures), which goes straight south to Piazza Venezia and Vittoriano. Via Veneto is a shopping paradise. It was my first walk-trough Rome. In the center of Piazza del Popolo there is another (of the hundreds in Rome) obelisk, which was brought to Roma by Emperor Augustus in the 15th century. I considered Piazza del Popolo a good starting point in visiting Rome. Maybe you will start your visit here too :)

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  • Rhondaj's Profile Photo

    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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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Popolo

    by GentleSpirit Written Jan 27, 2013

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    Piazza del Popolo

    This was right by my hotel, so i got a chance to see this when i was brand new in Rome.

    This was once the terminus of the road from Rome north, the Via Flaminia. For a long time this was the first place a visitor would see in Rome. It is a very large and attractive square.

    At its center is the Egyptian obelisk of Seti. This was taken from the Temple of the Sun in Heliopolis and brought to Rome in 10 BC. The obelisk is 24 meters tall and is one of the oldest and tallest in Rome. Originally it was installed in the circus maximus to commemorate the conquest of Egypt. It was moved to its present location in the 16h century.

    In my photo you will see the door behind the obelisk is the Porta del Popolo. This is actually farther away, but it was the terminus of the Via Flaminia, the road north.

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