Piazzas in Rome

Photo: www.correre.it

Are you ready for the International Rome Marathon 2019

The 25th International Rome Marathon will be held this year on the first Sunday of April. On the 7th of April 2019 thousands of runners will gather in front of the Colosseum at the start line. What other place would have been better to start the race in the Eternal City than the Flavian Amphitheater?

The route of the race, as every year, will stretch around some of the most beautiful landmarks in Rome. At the very start the runners will pass by the ruins of the Roman Forum and Imperial Forums from where they will be able to notice the majestic Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia. Then the route will follow the streets that will bring the runners to the Circus Maximus, the ancient stadium which capacity was around 120.000 spectators. The race will continue just behind the Caracalla Thermal baths and will continue down the Cristoforo Colombo street. The race will bend and will pass around St Paul’s Basilica (St Paul’s outside the walls).  After a couple of kilometers the panorama will change and the athletes will run around the Pyramid (Piramide Cestia). This pyramid is not Egyptian, even if it was inspired by the Egyptian constructions, and it was used as the burial chamber of Gaius Cestius.

The Tiber Island (Isola Tiberina) will be soon spotted on the left hand side of the runners’ route that will lead the marathon all the way along the river to the Vatican and the St Peter’s Basilica.

After the Vatican, the second half of the marathon, will follow the route that reaches the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Village, both built in the occasion of the Olympic games held in Rome in 1960. The race will continue again along the river Tiber and will reach the magnificent Piazza del Popolo with its impressive Porta del Popolo. Just few steps further the Spanish Steps square (Piazza di Spagna) will welcome the racers that will pass by the famous Bernini’s fountain, La Barcaccia.

After passing by Piazza Navona, Largo Argentina (the archaeological site where Julius Caesar has been killed) the race will reach again Piazza Venezia. Here, the last efforts will be necessary, as just before the finish a short but pretty steep hill will be in sight. The road that will bring all the racers to the finish is in downhill, just around the Colosseum.

The runners of the Rome City Maraton will have a unique panorama for the race!

You can download the Marathon route here.

During the days before and after the International Rome Marathon, City Lights Tours will welcome all marathon runners, tourists, visitors and supporters with a 20% discount. At the checkout just insert RUNNERS to get your discount. You are not obliged to proof that you’re running the marathon! You don’t have to run! We will bring you for a nice strolls along the best places in the city!

For all the visitors in Rome, City Lights Tours will also arrange all your transfers, so you can save your energy for the race (or for a tour!).

Soon we will publish the discount code reserved for all visitors in Rome during the International Rome Marathon, stay tuned!

Bulgari to restore the archaelogical site of Largo Argentina

Rome will have a new archaeological site that will be soon open to all citizens and tourists. The new opening will give the chance to all the visitors to access one of the most important archaeological sites in Rome.


In a couple of years the archaeological site of Largo Argentina (Largo di Torre Argentina) will be open to the public thanks to the donation of the fashion maison Bulgari who will donate 1 milion euro for the restoration. After financing the restoration of the Spanish Steps, Bulgari decided to give life to this archaeological site of great importance.

The area has been built in the 3rd century B.C and it’s well known as the place where Julius Caesar has been murdered on 15th March in 44 A.C, on the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar.

The “Sacred Area” of Largo Argentina has been discovered only in 1926 and there were found four temples built from the 4th to the 2nd century B.C. The temples are dedicated to the divinities or events of those times:

Temple of Juturna built after the Roman victory against the Carthaginians in 241 BC;

Temple Fortuna Huiusce Diei dedicated to the “Fortune of This Day”;

Temple of Feronia ancient Italic divinity of fertility;

Temple devoted to Lares Permarini (Lares who protect sailors).

The area will be accessible from the 2021 and there will be built platforms and boardwalks, which will allow visitors to walk over the archaeological site and get closer to the ruins of the Largo Argentina.

Largo Argentina is in the city centre of Rome, walking distance from Piazza Venezia, Pantheon and Campo de’ Fiori and it is very easily reachable with public transport as all the main buses have a stop in Largo Argentina. Don’t miss it even now, when the area can be admired from the walls of the archaological site.

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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