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:
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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!