This stunning neoclassical square is one of the largest open areas in this historic part of Rome.
Located near the Borghese Park, it is within the once centre of ancient Rome, dating back thousands of years. Providing a fascinating history to go along with its enchanting beauty.
The History of Piazza del Popolo
This Piazza was once the main entrances into Rome, nestled at the beginning of Via Flaminia, it was mainly where foreigners arrived into the city. The name of the square is said to be named after the church Santa Maria Del Popolo. Translating to “the Peoples Square”, but others theorised the name comes from the word “populous”, which is the type of tree that was growing in the region when named.
Attractions at the Piazza
On the northern side of the square features a truly impressive gate. The gate leads out to the Flaminia, an ancient road built in 220 AD, connecting the city to the Adriatic coast. The name of the gate has changed over time, first known as Porta Flaminia, but now officially named Porta del Popolo.
As soon as you step inside the square, you will no doubt catch sight of the massive obelisk. Standing at over 70 feet, it is located in the very centre of the piazza, brought to the city in the 16th century. It is an authentic Egyptian structure, brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus, to showcase Rome’s conquest of Egypt.
There are multiple fountains in the piazza worth seeing. The west side fountain is known as Fontana del Nettuno or the Neptune Fountain, with the structure depicting the magnificent god Neptune with his triton and two serving dolphins. On the other side of the square is Fontana della Dea di, Roma. Showcasing the Goddess of Rome, nestled between two figures that represent the Tiber and Aniene rivers. Both fountains are historic structures and well worth the visit to discover the history and beauty the attractions possess.
The Twin Churches
The famous twin churches are known as Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto. They were built in the 17th century and are both fabulous baroque styled masterpieces. Although from afar they look identical, when having a closer inspection, you can see the hidden differences between them.
Santa Maria del Popolo
The other remaining church in the piazza is the church is the Santa Maria del Popolo. Built-in 1477, it is said to be built over the top of the tomb of Nero. Because of this, the church is rumoured to have ghosts residing in it, with reports of both the ghost of the Emperor and evil spirits disturbing the residents living nearby. Travel inside the church and see the stunning artworks, including pieces by the famous Caravaggio, as well as Rome’s oldest known stained-glass windows.