Rome is well known for its ancient history, and although the glory days of the Roman Empire are long gone, it has forever left its footprint on this glorious city, not only with its ruins, but also its culture. Rome, and in fact all of Italy, has a strong culture and you can experience this by exploring the art, architecture, food, music and by meeting its people. One of the best places to experience the culture of Rome is to visit one of the city’s fascinating piazzas. These public squares have been the center of Roman culture for centuries, and some of the city’s most popular attractions are located within them. Here are some of the most popular piazzas to visit in Rome.
This 17th century piazza was built upon the site of the ancient Roman Stadium of Domitian, and has kept its oblong shape. Piazza Navona is dominated by the beautiful Sant’Agnese in Agone church, with three fountains located in the center. The central fountain is Fontana de Quattro Fiumi, and contains a huge 1st century Egyptian Obelisk. Surrounding the piazza are many alfresco style cafes, and there are often performers and musicians playing in the square.
Piazza Venezia is one of the busiest intersections in Rome. The piazza is named after Cardinal Venezia, who built his palace (Palazzo Venezia) adjacent to it in the 15th Century. At one end of the piazza stands the magnificent Vittorio Emanuele II Monument next to Capitoline Hill and the Roman Forum.
Piazza di Trevi
Home to the beautiful 18th century Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), this piazza is always very popular. The square is reached by going down several small Roman streets, and there are a couple of cafes and gelaterias to enjoy while looking out at this beautiful fountain. Legend says that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are ensured a return to Rome.
Piazza del Popolo
If you head straight up the Via del Corso from Piazza Venezia, you will end up in Piazza del Popolo. This large round piazza sits just within the ancient Aurelian Walls and at the gate that marks the start of the ancient Roman road: Via Flaminia. At the center of the piazza is a large Egyptain Obelisk of Sety I and Ramsese II known as Obelisco Flaminio and is surrounded by four small fountains. Dominating the square are the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, both built in the late 17th century and standing on either side of the start of Via del Corso.
Piazza del CampidoglioPhoto by Nick Bramhall on Flickr
Designed by famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo, Piazza del Campidoglio sits on top of Capitoline Hill – one of the seven hills of ancient Rome. The buildings surrounding the piazza combine as the Capitoline Museum and contain several important pieces of artwork.
Piazza di Spagna
Another very popular attraction in Rome, the Spanish Steps rise up the hill from Piazza di Spagna. At the base of the steps is the 17th century Baroque style fountain: Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat). The piazza is always a hive of activity and climbing the steps will give you excellent views of Rome.
Piazza San PietroPhoto by ChrisYunker on Flickr
One of the most well known squares in the world, St Peter’s Square is the huge piazza of the Vatican City, dominated by the largest church in the world: St Peter’s Basilica. Piazza San Pietro was designed by Bernini in the 17th century to accommodate as many people as possible. At the center of this magnificent piazza is a 4000 year old Egyptian Obelisk that stands at 41m in height.