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Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome!

Rome is surrounded by squares and today we are going to talk about one of the most beautiful of them: Piazza Del Popolo. Come with us to discover the history of this amazing place in Rome!

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Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome?

Known for the Coliseum, for its numerous churches and fountains, Rome is also known for its beautiful squares. One of the most beautiful is, without a doubt, Piazza Del Popolo. Do you want to learn more? Then this post is for you! Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome? Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”.

Our Introduction

Piazza del Popolo appears grand and solemn in the eyes of tourists and is one of the most famous squares in Rome. It represents the gateway to the oldest Rome, close to one of Rome’s consular roads, the Via Flaminia. It can be considered the last great achievement of papal Rome, closed to the north by the Porta del Popolo and dominated to the east by the ramps of the Pincio promenade. This square is the most interesting urban entrance in the world and is the biggest access to the heart of Rome. At first glance, it may seem that there are no significant attractions, however, it preserves remarkable visual and architectural works of great visual impact. It is one of Rome’s nerve centers as well as a destination for many tourists and home to many events.

The Flaminio Obelisk, the Fountain of Neptune and the Churches

Over time, the Piazza del Popolo has undergone many changes and what you see today is the result of the work of various popes. In this square, there are important churches and monuments such as the great Flaminio Obelisk, the Fountain of Neptune, the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo (“St Mary of the People”) and the twin churches of Santa Maria di Montesanto (“St Mary in Montesanto”) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (“St Mary of Miracles”). You just have to learn the history and admire this quadrilateral.

The elegant access to this square is via Porta del Popolo or Porta Flaminia. The northernmost gate of Aureliano’s walls owes its first name to Via Flaminia, which starts from this point, while the second name, like that of the famous Piazza del Popolo, has no certain origin. It is thought that it is due to the presence of the many poplars that populated the area of ​​the square or the presence of the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, built by decision of the Roman people.

Porta del Popolo

A single arch, with an inscription reminiscent of the last restoration and the papal coat of arms, characterizes the door. On the sides, there are four columns from the old Basilica of Saint Peter, among which are the statues of Saints Peter and Paul. The building is decorated with battlements. Externally, the façade is the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Instead, the name of the square must be linked to the construction of the Church of Santa Maria, called Popolo, because it was built at the expense of the people at the time of Pope Pasquale II in 1099, although another interpretation holds that the Latin word ‘popolus’ ‘ means poplar, which was probably lush in this area in ages past.

The legend

The legend, among other things, says that the pope chose to build the church at this time to replace a walnut tree grown in the tomb that held Nero’s ashes, whose ghost, they say, still bothers passersby. In any case, this Church is of extraordinary importance because it contains works of immense value, such as the two paintings by Caravaggio (the ‘Crocefissione di San Pietro’ and the ‘Conversione di San Paolo’) and works by Pinturicchio, Raffaello, Del Bramante and Bernini.

In the center of the square is all its grandeur, one of the biggest obelisks in Rome, coming from Egypt. The Flaminio Obelisk that was brought to Rome by Augustus, who placed it in the Circus Maximus, but Pope Sixtus V, in 1589, wanted it in the middle of the square, where we can still admire it today.

1) Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome? VISIT THE FLAMINIO OBELISK

The 24-meter tall obelisk is the oldest in Rome, after the Lateran, it was erected in Eliopoli, in front of the Temple of the Sun, at the time of the pharaohs Ramses II and Mineptah, his son, to whom the hieroglyphs refer. The elegance and refinement of Piazza del Popolo, however, is due to Valadier, the architect who, at the beginning of the 19th century and at the behest of Pope Pius VII, took care of its architecture in general. In fact, he placed at the foot of the obelisk the private fountain formed by four basins with Egyptian-style marble lions.

2) Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome? VISIT THE FOUNTAIN OF THE GODDESS ROMA AND THE FOUNTAIN OF NEPTUNE

In the two semicircles of the square, there is the Fountain of the Goddess Roma (at the foot of the Pincio) and on the opposite side of the Fountain of Neptune, finally, he dedicated himself to the creation of the great fountain of Virgin Water, which is shown on the slopes of the columns.

The square represents the apex from which three very important streets depart. Via del Babuino, commissioned by Clement VII and completed by Paul III, which leads to Piazza di Spagna; Via del Corso, corresponding to the former Via Lata, where the Palaces of Powers to Campidoglio are located, and via di Ripetta, which flanks the Tiber to San Pietro, known to everyone as ‘the Trident’.

During the 17th century, Bernini and Fontana intervened to build the two ‘twin’ churches. The twin churches of Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli are the two pillars of the trident, almost an invitation to explore the city center through the always-crowded Via del Corso, with its shops and street performers.

Fountain of the Goddess Roma (Fontanda della Dea Roma)

The Fountain of the Goddess Roma is the fountain placed in the right semicircle of the square towards Pincio. It was designed by Valadier, in 1823, and represents the goddess of Rome with the Capitoline She-Wolf at her feet, flanked by seated statues symbolizing the Tiber and Aniene. The large shell-shaped travertine basin collects water from the base of the monument. In the center of the fountain, beside the Tiber, we find the Fountain of Neptune, built in the left semicircle, completed in 1823.

Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno)

Located just opposite the Goddess Roma, in the other semicircle, is the Fountain of Neptune, which is composed of a large semicircular travertine basin above which is a large shell-shaped valve, also made of travertine, which collects water and pours it into a small place placed a little higher up.

The Neptune Fountain is decorated with sculptures designed by Giuseppe Valadier and carved by Ceccarini, the most important being the statue of Neptune holding a trident in his right hand. At the foot of Neptune, there are two Tritons, placed above the dolphins.

3) Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome? VISIT THE CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DI MONTESANTO

The church of Santa Maria in Montesanto is also known as the Church of the Artists, where since 1941 a mass has been celebrated every Sunday in honor of the artists. Also in this church, the funerals of characters related to the world of entertainment and culture are often held. Santa Maria dei Miracoli, instead, designed by architect Carlo Rainaldi in 1611, was completed by Bernini with the collaboration of Carlo Fontana.

Although they look identical, in reality the church’s dome is circular, unlike the twin church of Santa Maria di Montesanto, which is oval. The visit to the beautiful Piazza del Popolo ends with the two fountains in front of its semicircles, such as the Fountain of the Goddess Roma and the Fountain of Neptune.


Map of Piazza Del Popolo in Rome

Source: Google Maps

How to get to Piazza del Popolo?

1) How to get to Piazza del Popolo? BY AIRPLANE

Rome has two airports: Leonardo da Vinci in Fiumicino and Pastine di Ciampino. Fiumicino is the most important airport where regular domestic and international flights arrive. Ciampino, in recent years, has become the reference airport for low-cost flights.

Also read our Special Posts about Airports in Italy:

2) How to get to Piazza del Popolo? BY TRAIN

Rome has two main stations, Roma Termini and Roma Tiburtina. Arrival at either station depends on the departure city, time and type of train. Regional trains and national trains other than high-speed trains generally arrive at Roma Termini. Frecciarossa and Italo high-speed trains arrive at Roma Termini and/or Tiburtina.

Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of railway transport? Find out here “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?”.

3) How to get to Piazza del Popolo? BY CAR

For those arriving from the north, the best way to get to Rome is the A1 Milano-Roma highway. From the south, the mandatory route is the A1 highway. All highways cross the Grande Raccordo Anulare ring road, on which there are all exits to the center and suburbs of Rome. Also read TRAVELING BY CAR IN ITALY: EXAMPLES OF TOURS.

If you are going to rent a car, be sure to read our posts in the Driving in Italy section of the Traveling to Italy blog. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signs, tolls, roads and many more tips.

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Important to know

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Hotel I suggest near the Historic Center

If you are passionate about art and would like to stay in the center where you can move around walking, as well as having countless possibilities for places to have lunch / dinner or a snack, I advise you to stay in the historic center. Regions near the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Imperial Forum and the Villa Borghese, Piazza Spagna and Piazza Navona can be considered as “historic center”. These are the most expensive areas, but you will be close to everything, literally!

If you want to save a great option is the B&B, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

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Hotels that I suggest near the San Giovanni Region

For those who want to find cheaper alternatives in quiet areas, but at the same time close to the means of transport to the center, I suggest the region of San Giovanni or Monti (near the metro stations San Giovanni, Castro Pretorio and Circus Massimo) – which it is a more residential neighborhood; therefore, more economical and quiet! And with just 15 minutes by subway you will be in the center too!

I have two options for Hotels that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

I have two options of B&B that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotels I suggest near Vatican City

An interesting area to stay and a little cheaper than the historic center is the Vatican area (Vatican Museums) which is very well connected with everything.

I have two options of B&B that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

If you prefer a hotel, I have three options that I recommend, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotel I suggest near Termini Station

For those who prefer to stay in neighborhoods that have good access to the rest of the city and at a better price, then you should choose accommodation in the surroundings of Termini Station (from where a dense network of public means of transport starts, serving both: the local people and tourists).

I have 3 good hotel suggestions in Termini, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

If you prefer B&B I have 2 good suggestions, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

Hotels that I suggest in Trastevere

For those who prefer to “taste” authentic and characteristic Rome, there is nothing better than booking a hotel in Trastevere (on the outskirts of the city’s historic river), full of typical Roman history and traditions, known for the tortuous streets of sampietrini stones and the centers medieval style housing.

The neighborhood is in the historic center and to the right of the Tevere River, in the midst of a spectacular landscape, where each visitor can observe the countless churches and squares (such as Santa Maria in Trastevere). In addition, this neighborhood offers several local restaurants and canteens for those who want to try typical Roman cuisine.

If you want to save a great option is the B&B, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)

If you prefer a good hotel, I have two options that I really like, click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion make your reservation and guarantee good prices;)


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Conclusion

Let’s visit Piazza Del Popolo in Rome? No wonder this square is called ‘people’, because its large wall decorated with statues and sphinxes seems to want to welcome and embrace the entire crowd that, for many centuries at this point, stops and walks, in a ‘Piazza’ that it has become a real living room for all people.

Much of Rome’s history takes place precisely in this square. It’s the right place to spend a fun afternoon, from where the main shopping streets depart, and climb the stairs until you reach Terrazza del Pincio, where you can admire Rome from above in all its splendour.

And if you feel insecure, have no time, and need help to organize your trip, don’t hesitate to contact me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy come true. And how can I do that? Keep reading this post until the end and you will understand how we make your life and your trip much easier 🙂

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