The Piazza della Rotonda is the official name of the square that faces the Pantheon in Rome, 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
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 centre. 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 being taken over by 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.