Piazza di Spagna, known in the past as Piazza di Francia, is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. The square owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, seat of the Embassy of Spain among the Holy See. ARCHITECTURE To the east of the square, we can find the Spanish Steps, a monumental staircase of 135 steps built between 1723 and 1725, which makes the connection between Piazza di Spagna, at the base, and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Church of Trinità dei Monti, at the top. On the right corner of the staircase is the house of the English poet John Keats, who died there in 1821. Today, the building hosts a museum dedicated to his memory and that of his friend Percy Bysshe Shelley. On the left corner of the staircase is the Babington’s tea room, a traditional English tea shop founded in 1893 by two English women, Isabel Cargill and Anne Marie Babington. To the south of the square stands the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, a palace owned by the Holy See. Its main facade was designed by the sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the front side of the Via Read more [...]
In Italy, a city square, commonly found at the meeting of two or more streets, is a piazza. Every Italian city has a piazza or more, with streets radiating from the center, with green areas and places to rest. As key points in a city, in the squares you can find shops and public transport stations, but the Italians use it especially for evening walks and meetings with friends. Also, the city’s main events take place in the central square.
The worlds best known square may be the Piazza San Marco, in Venice, but we must not forget other beautiful squares like Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Piazza del Campo in Siena, Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Prato della Valle in Padua, Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Piazza San Pietro in Vatican, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna in Rome, or Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples. Moreover, every town in Italy, no matter how small, has a beautiful main square that we invite you to discover.
Piazza della Repubblica is one of the most famous squares in Rome, located on the Viminal Hill, the smallest of the seven hills of the city, a few hundred meters away from the Termini station, in front of the Baths of Diocletian. SHORT HISTORY The first name of the square, Piazza dell’Esedra, still very common today, originates from the great exedra of the Roman baths, whose perimeter is traced by the semicircular colonnade of the square. The arcades that embellish the square were built between 1887 and 1898 by the architect Gaetano Koch, precisely in memory of the ancient buildings that stood there. ARCHITECTURE The Fountain of the Naiads in the center of the square is the work of the Palermitan sculptor Mario Rutelli, who carved it in 1901. The naiads represented are the Nymph of the Lakes, the Nymph of the Rivers, the Nymph of the Oceans and the Nymph of the Underground Waters. At the center of the fountain is the Glaucus group, sculpted in 1912, symbolizing man’s domination over natural forces. To the north of the square, we can find the Baths of Diocletian, public baths in ancient Rome, built between 298 and 306 AD. Read more [...]
Although St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) is officially a part of Vatican City, an independent state, informally it can be included among the attractions of Rome, as one of the most beautiful square in the Eternal City. Piazza San Pietro is located in front of the St. Peter’s Basilica dedicated to the homonymous saint, an apostle of Jesus and the first Catholic Pope, being the main meeting point for the Catholic faithful from all over the world. SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 16th century, the rectangular square was unpaved, with a difference in height of about 10 meters between the foot of the staircase leading to the basilica and the front of the esplanade that reached the Tiber. Pope Alexander VI opened the first new straight road of Rome, the current Via della Conciliazione, between the Sant’Angelo bridge and the gate of the Vatican Palace. Around this axis, the Borgo, the 14th historic district (rione) of Rome, is reorganized into a mix of public housing and cardinal palaces designed by the most important architects of the time. During the pontificate of Julius II, it was decided to completely rebuild the basilica. Throughout the 16th century, the Read more [...]
Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square) is a large square in Rome, located at the foot of the Pincian Hill, near the Villa Borghese gardens. SHORT HISTORY Until the end of the 19th century, when it assumed its current shape, Piazza del Popolo was a modest square with a trapezoidal shape. At the time of the Napoleonic occupation, the architectural and urban aspect of the square was revised by the architect Giuseppe Valadier. Thanks to his intervention, the square assumed the current elliptical shape, completed by a double exedra, decorated with numerous fountains and statues. In 1818, Valadier removed the old fountain of Giacomo Della Porta, which, under the pontificate of Pope Leo XII was replaced by a new architecture. Valadier continued its work of renewal of the square by arranging also the slopes of the Pincian Hill, connecting Piazza del Popolo and the hill with wide ramps, adorned by trees. ARCHITECTURE In the square, three churches are built. Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is the oldest one, located next to the gate with the same name, Porta del Popolo. The church was built in the 11th century by Pope Pasquale II, but was later rebuilt under Pope Read more [...]