Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo is the all-time favourite recreation place for the native Roman citizens and guests of the "ancient city". It is also the most recognizable landmark of Rome pictured by numerous artists. They say that "all the roads lead to Rome" but not everybody knows that in ancient times Piazza del Popolo was the first view upon arrival to Rome from Via Flaminia which ends with one of the most famous squares in the world. From Piazza del Popolo three streets branch out to the south of the city: Via del Corso (leads to Piazza Venezia), Via del Babuino (leads to Piazza di Spagna) and Via di Ripetta (leads to Augustus Mausoleum). The current layout of the piazza was designed in neoclassical style between 1811 and 1822 by architect Giuseppe Valadier though it always attracted crowds of people as it was the place of public trade and executions. The last public execution took place here in 1826.

Being on Piazza del Popolo have a look at the twin churches – Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1681) and Santa Maria in Montesanto (1679). Close scrutiny of the twin churches reveals that they are not mere copies of one another but only a very attentive tourist can notice this (Santa Maria in Montesanto is oval in the plan while Santa Maria dei Miracoli has a round shape). Besides the twin churches in the centre of piazza stands the 36-meter high Egyptian obelisk. Inscriptions on the obelisk glorify the deeds of Rameses II. The obelisk was brought to Rome in 10 BC by order of Augustus and originally set up in the Circus Maximus. It was re-erected here in the piazza by architect-engineer Domenico Fontana in 1589 as part of the urban plan of Sixtus V. Piazza del Popolo is also home for one of the most famous basilicas in Rome - Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo.

Address: Piazza del Popolo
How to reach: metro Flaminio
Coordinates: 41.910697, 12.476316