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, and replaced it with a new structure – four fountains in the form of lions, around the base of the obelisk. Valadier continued its work of renewal 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 Piazza del Popolo houses three churches. 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 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 Venezia is a beautiful square in Rome, located at the foot of the Capitoline Hill, between Piazza di San Marco, to the west, and Piazza della Madonna di Loreto, to the east. In the square, five of the most important streets of the city meet: Via dei Fori Imperiali, Via Cesare Battisti, Via del Corso, Via del Plebiscito, and Via del Teatro di Marcello. SHORT HISTORY The current appearance of the square derives largely from the demolition and reconstruction interventions carried out between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, following the construction of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Vittoriano). Originally, the square extended only in the western half of the current one, and Via del Corso started from its northeastern corner. The imposing Vittoriano required a wider space in front, and it was decided to enlarge Piazza Venezia and make it symmetrical to the axis of Via del Corso. The extension was designed in its general lines by Giuseppe Sacconi and then defined by Guido Cirilli. For this enlargement, the buildings present in the eastern part of the future square were demolished and Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was built. Read more [...]
Piazza Navona is a monumental square in Rome, with the shape of an ancient stadium, located about 350 meters away from the Pantheon. SHORT HISTORY In ancient Rome, the current site of the square was occupied by the Stadium of Domitian, built by the Emperor Domitian in 85 AD, and restored by Alexander Severus in the 3rd century. The stadium was 265 meters long, 106 meters wide, and could accommodate about 30,000 spectators. The square became again a public space used for recreational purposes in the second half of the 15th century, during the reign of Pope Paul II. However, the most important transformations in the square took place during the pontificate of Innocent X, around the middle of the 17th century, when Piazza Navona took on its current appearance. The square was supposed to celebrate the greatness of the Pamphili family, and Innocent X, born Giovanni Battista Pamphili, desired the palace of the same name to be erected in the square, together with other imposing structures. ARCHITECTURE Piazza Navona is a symbol of Baroque Rome, with architectural and sculptural elements by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi. In the center of the square, stands the Read more [...]
Although Piazza San Pietro is technically part of the Vatican, an independent state, informally it can be included among the attractions of Rome, as one of the most beautiful squares in the Eternal City. The Saint Peter’s Square, located in front of the Saint Peter’s Basilica dedicated to the homonymous saint, an apostle of Jesus and the first Catholic Pope, is 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 River. During the 15th century, Pope Alexander VI opened the first new straight road of Rome, the current Via della Conciliazione, between Ponte Sant’Angelo and the gate of the Vatican Palace. Around this axis, the Borgo, the 14th historic district of Rome, was 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 St. Peter’s Basilica. Throughout the 16th century, Read more [...]
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 [...]
Piazza del Quirinale is one of the many beautiful squares of Rome, located on the Quirinal Hill, near the palace of the same name. ARCHITECTURE The square is located on top of the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome, called so because on this site once stood the temple of Quirino. The square is bordered to the northeast by the imposing Palazzo del Quirinale, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, built between the years 1573 and 1585 by Martino Longhi and Ottaviano Mascherino as the summer residence of the Roman pontiffs. The east side of the square is bordered by Palazzo della Consulta. The building, which was completed in 1737 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Fuga, was commissioned by Pope Clement XII to house the Papal State court. Between 1798 and 1814, the palace was the seat of the Prefecture of Rome, and from 1871 to 1874 was the residence of Prince Umberto I. In 1955, the palace became the seat of the Constitutional Court of Italy. Another building flanking the square, near Palazzo della Consulta, is the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, commissioned in 1603 by the Borghese family. On the Read more [...]
Piazza della Repubblica is a square in Rome, located on the Viminal Hill, the smallest of the seven hills of the city, 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 today 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 on this site. ART AND 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 the man’s domination over the forces of nature. In the northern part of the square, we can find the Baths of Diocletian, public baths in ancient Rome, built between 298 and 306 AD. Inside the ruined frigidarium Read more [...]