Piazza Mignanelli Rome

Though Piazza Mignanelli in Rome is not amongst the city’s most famous squares, there will be very few tourists in the Eternal City who will not have unwittingly set foot on this beautiful little piazza. Piazza Mignanelli lies at the foot of the Pincio hill, to the right of the Spanish Steps and the narrow stairways leading up to the Trinità dei Monti church.

Piazza Mignanelli Rome

Special Events

Every year on the 8th of December the Pope (and thousands of Catholics with him) visits Piazza Mignanelli, in order to celebrate the Immaculate Conception, symbolized by the statue of the Madonna on the pillar in the middle of the piazza. The pillar is called the Colonna dell’Immacolata.

History and description

Piazza Mignanelli Rome, with Column
Piazza Mignanelli

The palazzo dominating Piazza Mignanelli was built in the beginning of the 17th century. It was commissioned by the wealthy Gabrielli family from the city of Gubbio. The third floor of this building was not constructed until 1887, by Andrea Busiri Vici. The same architect also reconstructed the facade.

A marriage in the Gabrielli family was the reason the name Mignanelli was chosen.

One beautiful palazzo of course attracts more beautiful palazzi. After the Gabrielli building more buildings were constructed around Piazza Mignanelli. The steps leading up to the Trinità dei Monti church were also constructed.

In those days there was a chain separating the Piazza di Spagna from Piazza Mignanelli. The square could only be entered by people belonging to the circle of friends of the Gabrielli‘s.

The building on the right (when facing the Trinità dei Monti church) used to be the seat of the Inspectorate for Prices and Taxes, run by the Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Piazza Mignanelli – Rome

Piazza della Rotonda Rome

The Piazza della Rotonda is the official name of the square that faces the Pantheon, so most people know it by the name Piazza del Pantheon. It is one of Rome‘s liveliest squares, with a jumble of open-air café tables and a picturesque central fountain. The alleys leading up to the square are lined with tourist shops, wine bars, restaurants and small cafés.

Piazza della Rotonda Rome

Piazza della Rotonda in Rome
Piazza della Rotonda

Apart from the Pantheon itself, the most distinguishing landmark on the Piazza della Rotonda is the obelisk on top of the fountain right in its center. Like the Minerva obelisk its original location was the temple of Isis. The hieroglyphics place its origin during the reign of Ramses II.

The obelisk was placed in front of the Pantheon in 1711 and Pope Clement XI commissioned its decorative dolphins and coats of arms.

There is a plaque on the building across from the Pantheon claiming that the papal authorities saved the square from the hands of brothels and inn-keepers.

The plaque on the building housing the Hotel del Sole, one of the most famous hotels in Rome, says that the poet Torquato Tasso used to live there.

The Piazza della Rotonda is a perfect spot to just sit and have a coffee. Do not be surprised though if that coffee costs 8 times as much as everywhere else.

Originally there were 4 fountains on the Piazza della Rotonda. Three of these are now kept in municipal warehouses, while the fourth one stands in the Viale Goethe in the Villa Borghese park and is known as the Fountain of the Winged Victories.

Piazza della Rotonda – Rome

Campo de’ Fiori Rome

Especially at night-time, when the Campo de’ Fiori turns into one of the liveliest squares in Rome, it is hard to imagine that this beautiful, crowded square started its existence as a simple meadow. In the mornings the square hosts a weekday market.

Campo de’ Fiori Rome

It is located close to the river Tiber, in one of Rome‘s most beautiful and picturesque districts, and is the backdrop of one of Rome’s most interesting weekday markets (which was formerly held in the nearby Piazza Navona).

The name, “Field of Flowers”, is a reminder of its origins as a pasture where animals used to graze. This lasted until 1440, when the area was paved.

From then on it became a place where pilgrims found hospitality in inns and hotels, a characteristic which has not changed much over the years. Campo de’ Fiori nowadays is still a square lined by restaurants and pubs of all kinds.

The statue in the middle of the square depicts Giordano Bruno, a philosopher who was sent to the stake in the year 1600 because of his heretic ideas. Note that he is placed in such a way that he is looking directly towards the Vatican City.

Unfortunately nowadays the Campo has become the last stop of most of the pub crawls organized in Rome, and drunken youths screaming and fighting may ruin the atmosphere.

Campo de Fiori Market

The daily market at the Campo de’ Fiori (7 AM till 2 PM, except Sundays) is one of the oldest in Rome. Its official name is Mercato Regionale Regola, even though the square is not in the Regola, but in the Parione district.

Public transport

The nearest bus stop is Corso Vittorio Emanuele/Navona (46, 62, 64, 916, 916F, N5, N15, N20).

Campo de’ Fiori – Rome

Piazza Borghese Rome

The Piazza Borghese in Rome is situated between the Via di Ripetta en the Via Fontanella Borghese. The main attraction in the square is the Palazzo Borghese.

Piazza Borghese Rome

History

The neighborhood where the Piazza Borghese is located used to belong to the Borghese family. This family settled in the area in the 16th century. Pope Paul V and Cardinal Scipione Borghese were responsible for the enlargement of the area between the Via di Ripetta and the San Girolamo degli Schiavi Church. Until the 19th century the square remained property of the family.

Tourist attractions

Piazza Borghese Rome
Palazzo Borghese

On the north side it is bordered by the Palazzo Borghese, on the west side by the Palazzo della Famiglia and on the northwest side by the Faculty of Architecture.

The Palazzo Borghese, thanks to its unusual shape, is often nicknamed Cembalo (“Harpsichord”). Nowadays, one wing of this building is used as a hotel and resaurant/lounge bar.

Originally the square bordered the Via di Ripetta. This changed between 1923 and 1928, when the faculty, which is part of the Sapienza University, was constructed inbetween.

Public Transport

The nearest bus stop is Ripetta (70, 81, 87, 492, 628, C3, N6, N7, N25).

Piazza Borghese – Rome

Piazza Barberini

Piazza Barberini is a large public square on the Quirinal Hill in the city centre of Rome. It was constructed in the 16th century but it was only in 1625 that it was named after the Palazzo Barberini which faces it.

Piazza Barberini Rome

History and description

Piazza Barberini
Piazza Barberini and the Fontana del Tritone

The Piazza Barberini is located in the spot where the Roman Circus of Flora used to be. Here
in the month of May the flower games were held to celebrate the beginning of spring.

Already in the first years of the empire this valley was inhabited. In the 16th century several villas and gardens were constructed in the area. In 1585 Pope Sixtus V had the Via Felice constructed. This street led from the Trinità de Monti Church to the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme Basilica. Later, in 1870, it was split up in several fractions, including the Via Sistina and the Via delle Quattro Fontane. When the Via Veneto and the Via Regina Elena (now the Via Barberini) were constructed the Piazza Barberini became one of the main squares of the city.

The piazza used to have a completely different outlook. There used to be a gateway into the Palazzo Barberini, which was destroyed in the 19th century in order to facilitate the construction of a road. Most of the buildings around the square were reconstructed at some point or other.

Until the 18th century the Piazza Barberini could be a quite macabre spot, since unidentified corpses were brought here to be transported to various central points of the city to see if anybody would recognize them.

Tourist attractions

The Piazza Barberini nowadays houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica). The entrance to this museum is not in the square, however, but in the Via Barberini.

The main attraction is the Fontana del Tritone in the middle of the square. It was constructed between 1632 and 1637 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

There used to be another fountain at the spot where the piazza meets the Via Sistina, but this one was later moved to the Via Vittorio Veneto. Like the Triton Fountain the Fontana delle Api (Fountain of the Bees) was created by Bernini. The bee, by the way, is the symbol of the Barberini family.

There also used to be an obelisk, now known as the Aurelian Obelisk, in the Piazza Barberini, but this was moved to the Villa Medici in 1822.

Address and public transport

The Piazza Barberini is located in the rione Trevi. Metro: Barberini (line A). Bus stop: Tritone/Barberini (lines 52, 53, 62, 63, 83, 85, 160, 492, C3, N4, N5, N12, N25).

Piazza Barberini – Rome

Piazza della Minerva Rome

The Piazza della Minerva is located in the center of Rome, in the rione Pigna. It is named after the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, in its turn named after a temple built by Pompey and dedicated to Minerva Calcidica. Its biggest attraction is the Minerva Obelisk, also known as Bernini’s Elephant.

Piazza della Minerva Rome

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva with Bernini's Elephant in Rome
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva with Bernini’s Elephant

The Piazza della Minerva is indirectly named after the Minerva Calcidica Temple. The statue of Minerva that stood in this temple is now to be seen in the Vatican Museums.

One claim to fame the Piazza della Minerva has is that it is the lowest square in Rome and therefore always the first one to be flooded. 15th and 16th century inscriptions on the side of the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church show how high the water rose.

The Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church is the only Gothic church in Rome, although this is not directly visible in the exterior part of the building. Highlights in the church itself are a “Resurrected Christ” by Michelangelo and a fresco by Filippino Lippi.

The most important attraction on the square is the Minerva Obelisk, a statue of an elephant with an obelisk on its back, made by Bernini. In 1667 the obelisk was moved to its present spot from the Iseo Campense. Although the elephant was designed by Bernini, it was sculpted by Ercole Ferrata.

The building to the right of the church is the Palazzo Fonseca and since 1832 houses the Grand Hotel de la Minerve.

Directly across from the church the Palazzo dell’Accademia Ecclesiastica can be seen. Here the diplomats of the Vatican City obtain their training.

The writer Stendhal used to live on the Piazza della Minerva (n. 66) for a while.

From the square the back of the Pantheon with the ruins of the Baths of Agrippa can be seen. The baths were built between 27 and 25 BC and are the oldest of the city.

Address and public transport

The nearest bus stop is Argentina (lines 30, 40, 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 130F, 190F, 492, 628, 916, 916F, N5, N6, N7, N15, N20, SHOP1).

Piazza della Minerva – Rome

Piazza Mastai Rome

Piazza Mastai in Rome gets its name from the family of Pope Pius IX, who constructed the Manifattura dei Tabacchi there in 1865.

Piazza Mastai Rome

Piazza Mastai Rome
Piazza Mastai

The building still exists, although the Pope himself was not too enthusiastic about the result. According to legend, after Pius had entered the building through the door, which was rather small compared to the rest of the building, he is supposed to have said: “Now I have entered through the window, I would also like to see where the door is”. It is safe to say that this was probably a lot wittier in Italian.

Except for the Manifattura dei TabacchiPius IX also constructed a number of rental houses for those Trasteverini who did not have a sufficient income. The houses still exist, in the Via Cardinale Merry del Val, which used to be part of the Piazza Mastai.

The central fountain in the square, like the Manifattura, was designed by the architect Antonio Sarti.

Piazza Mastai Rome Photo Gallery

Piazza Mastai – Rome

Piazza San Cosimato Rome

The Piazza di San Cosimato is named for the church with the same name and is located in the middle of the district of Trastevere in Rome.

Piazza San Cosimato Rome

San Cosimato church - Piazza San Cosimato Rome
San Cosimato Church

Apart from the San Cosimato Church, which nowadays is incorporated in the Regina Margherita hospital and has a beautifully intimate little courtyard, it does not have too much to offer to the average tourist.

For people with children the square can be a pleasant break from sightseeing duties, since there is a small playground to be found.

Piazza San Cosimato also boasts a small daily market, where the Trasteverini themselves do their shopping.

The surrounding streets are characterized be a great number of interesting little trattorie and pizzerie.

Photo Gallery Piazza San Cosimato Rome

Piazza San Cosimato – Rome

Piazza del Popolo Rome

The Piazza del Popolo is one of the biggest squares of Rome, and can be found just inside what used to be the Porta Flaminia, now the Porta del Popolo, of the Aurelian Walls. Outside the walls the Via Flaminia started, which connected Rome to Rimini.

Piazza del Popolo Rome

Piazza del Popolo Rome
Piazza del Popolo’s (almost) twin churches.

Piazza del Popolo means “People’s Square”, but the name derives form the poplars that used to grow there and gave their name to the Santa Maria del Popolo Church in the northeast corner of the piazza.

The square was meant impressive, since it was the first thing a traveler from the north laid his eyes on when entering the city from the north.

The way the Piazza del Popolo looks now is the work of the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier. Originally the shape of the square was trapezoidal and was centred on the Via Flaminia, but Valadier created the two semicircles around the piazza and the viale (lane) leading up to the balustrated overlook from the Pincio.

The centre of the Piazza del Popolo is dominated by the Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II, which brought to Rome in 10 BC. In 1589 Domenico Fontana moved it from its original site, the Circus Maximus, to its present spot. In 1818 the fountains in the form of lions were added and the original fountain was moved to the Piazza Nicosia.

Having one’s back turned towards the Porta del Popolo, one looks towards the so-called tridente, the three streets branching out from the piazza and separated in the beginning by the almost-twin churches Santa Maria in Montesanto (on the left) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. From left to right, the streets are the Via del Babuino, the Via del Corso and the Via di Ripetta.

The two buildings framing the tridente were created in an identical way by Valadier and a third similar palazzo was constructed next to the Santa Maria del Popolo. Two identical walls on the west and east sides completed his design. The trees behind the western walls were planted in order to hide the buildings behind them, which did not match Valadier‘s design.

His most important renovations were the carriageway and the pedestrian steps leading up to the Pincio and the triple-arched nymphaeum below the lookout point.

Valadier had also made plans for fountains, but since the Acqua Vergine Nuovo aquaduct was not completed until the 1820s, these were not actually built and the fountains on the east and west side of the piazza were created by Giovanni Ceccarini.

Until 1826, the Piazza del Popolo used to be a place for public executions.

Piazza del Popolo Rome Gallery

Piazza del Popolo – Rome

Saint Peter’s Square Rome

The elliptical Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Square) in Rome was designed by Bernini, who is also responsible for the two galleries of pillars “embracing” the square.

Saint Peter’s Square Rome

Fountain on Saint Peter's SquareSaint Peter’s Square contains two fountains and an Egyptian obelisk. According to popular belief, the obelisk is crowned by a piece of the cross Christ was crucified on.

The Egyptian obelisk was brought from Heliopolis by Emperor Caligula. It was transported in a boat filled with lentils, in order to prevent the monument from breaking in half. In 1586 Pope Sixtus V ordered Domenico Fontana to place the obelisk in its present position.

The square is surrounded by Bernini‘s famous Colonnade, the two arms of which symbolically welcome the visitors into the basilica. The four rows of columns have a length of 320 meters (350 yards) and are crowned by 140 gigantic statues. When you go near the central obelisk you will see a small brick stone in the pavement. If you stand on this stone the 4 rows of colums seem to turn into just 1. Bernini created this effect by gradually diminishing the diameter of the columns. The Colonnade was finished in 1667.

Nowadays, when approaching Saint Peter’s Square from the Castel Sant’Angelo one can see the basilica and the piazza from afar. Until the 1930’s this was not possible. The Borgo district was purposely laid out in such a way that it would not be possible to have a direct view of the Vatican City from anywhere. This changed after Mussolini‘s Lateran Pact with the Catholic Church in 1929.

Every Sunday at noon (when he is in Rome), the Pope blesses the crowd gathered on the square.

Contrary to what many people expect is the Saint Peter’s Square not the biggest one in Rome. That honor belongs to the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.

Piazza San Pietro – Rome