Piazzas in Rome

Who was Giordano Bruno?

In 1600 the 17th February was Ash Wednesday and on this day Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake.

He was a Dominican friar, mathematician, poet and philosopher. Born in Nola (near Napoli) and died in Rome in 1600.

During his life, his studies and research were focused on history, philosophy, theology, astronomy and mathematics (to mention just a few) and therefore he was an eclectic scholar with various interests.

With his research he raised many doubts about the some deeply established scientific and religious ideas. While this today could be called the freedom of expression, Giordano Bruno was seen as a heretic and blasphemous person.

The Inquisition accused him of several charges and he was burned in Rome in Campo de’ Fiori hanging upside down while his “tongue was imprisoned because of his wicked words”.

Particularly from the 19th century on he was celebrated as a martyr of science and considered as a pioneer of free thought.

At the end of the 19th century, a statue was erected in his honor, exactly on the spot where he was burned in Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. Now the square hosts one of the most famous city markets. Next time you visit Rome and the market you should raise your eyes to the huge statue watching all of us.

Most beautiful Piazzas in Rome….which one is your favorite?

Roman life revolves around its Piazzas.   Your local Piazza is where you do your shopping, have a coffee, catch up

with neighbors and friends, or have a drink and enjoy the best people-watching!  Piazzas are not only popular with

tourists, but the locals as well.    Piazzas have at least a couple of bars or restaurants, are aesthetically appealing and

usually a fountain of some sort.   Some you find shopping markets and even live entertainment.

Piazza San Pietro doesn’t make the list, because in spite of its beauty, history and cultural importance, it doesn’t have the

true spirit of a Roman Piazza.   Piazza di Spagna, which is undeniably picturesque, but feels more like a tourist thoroughfare

than a proper Piazza.

Here’s our list of our favorite Piazzas, in no particular order:


Piazza Navona

Arguably the most beautiful of all the Piazzas in Rome, Piazza Navona is particularly stunning at night.  The stunning

Baroque architecture and the theatrical splendour of the Fountain of the Four Rivers create the impression of a stage

backdrop or a film set; it was used to particularly good effect in La Grande Bellezza.    The restaurants, bars, markets

and street performers prevent it from seeming like an open-air museum, and there’s always something going on.

piazza navona



Piazza della Madonna dei Monti

There’s always an interesting cross-section of people hanging out on the steps of the fountain, from chain-smoking

hipsters to elderly men taking a nap.  At lunchtime,  locals eat their panini and piadine by the fountain, next to

tourists persusing their maps as they find their way to the Colosseum.    Depending of the time of day, the Piazza

can feel like a tranquil retreat, or the centre of Rome’s nightlife.

piazza della madonna dei monti


Campo dei Fiori

You could easily spend a day hanging around this Piazza, eating, drinking, people-watching and reflecting on the

strange contrast between the beauty of the square and the horror of its history.  Look up from the flowers to the

solemn, hooded figure that watches over the square.  Giordano Bruno, a friar and philosopher, was accused of

heresy and burned to death here in 1600.   The Piazza can get quite busy at night and is best experienced in the

morning, when the market is open.

campo dei fiori market


Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo rivals Piazza Navona for elegance and drama.  Whichever way you look at it, entering from Via Del

Corso, or admiring the piazza from the terrace of the Pincio, it is graceful and symmetricaly square. One side is framed

by twin churches built in the 17th century, while another side leads towards the imposing Porta del Popolo.

piazza del popolo

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

It’s easy to get lost in the narrow, winding streets of Trastevere, but sooner or later you know you’ll find yourself in

the heart of it all, at Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.   Everyone ends up here eventually, sitting on the steps of the

fountain, enjoying a gelato, watching the street musicians and people watching.

piazza santa maria in trastevere

Piazza Mattei

Last but not least,  Piazza Mattei is hidden away in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto.  Every piazza in Rome has a fountain,

but the Fontana delle Tartarughe is a fountain with a difference.  Four smiling naked boys throw turtles into the basin

above, or catch them, depending on how you look at it.  The Jewish Ghetto is an area not to be missed!

piazza mattei

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