Many a cobbled Roman street leads to a piazza and the sound of trickling water in a fabulous fountain. Rome has some of the most breathtaking piazzas in the world, full of historic significance, a place to meet friends and loved ones, a spot to enjoy a bite or pre-dinner apéritif, and the perfect place to watch the world go by. Each square has a unique feel, a story to tell, and a particular atmosphere.
Here is a snapshot of four of Rome’s most beautiful piazzas.
Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Square)
One of Rome’s largest and most impressive piazzas, Piazza San Pietro, designed by Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, stands at the entrance to Saint Peter’s Basilica. The piazza is an impressive size measuring 320m by 240m.
Impressive for many reasons, the curved colonnades around the outside of the piazza feature four rows of 284 columns. Above the columns are 140 statues of saints, constructed in 1670.
Two circular matching fountains stand on either side of the central obelisk, one created by Bernini in 1675 and the other by Maderno in 1614. In the center of the piazza is a 25m high obelisk that originated from Egypt and was moved to Rome in 37 AD.
Piazza Navona is a magnificent square, home to three elegant Baroque fountains. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) created in 1651 takes center stage and is topped by the Obelisk of Domitian.
The piazza itself was built on the remains of an ancient Roman stadium, the Stadium of Domitian, where the ancient Romans went to watch the games.
At each end of the piazza is a fountain, both designed by artist Giacomo della Porta. At the south end is the Fontana del Moro, and the other is Fontana del Nettuno.
At night the fountains are beautifully lit creating a distinct atmosphere. Definitely a piazza to explore on an evening stroll. The Brazilian Embassy enjoys its location in the 17th century Palazzo Pamphili.
Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
Located across the other side of the Tiber in the heart of the Trastevere neighborhood is Piazza di Santa Maria. Positioned in this square is one of the oldest churches in Rome, dating back to the 3rd century, the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere.
In the center of the Piazza, in front of the Basilica is a fountain which is thought to be one of the oldest in the Eternal City, dating back to the 8th century. Reconstruction of the fountain took place between 1499 and 1500 by Donato Bramante.
With many of the cobbled streets leading to the piazza hosting an array of independent restaurants and bars, the piazza comes to life at night. The steps of the fountain are the perfect place to relax, enjoy an ice cream and people watch.
Piazza della Rotonda
Piazza della Rotonda offers the perfect view of the Pantheon, an incredible architectural feat, featuring the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. When standing inside the Pantheon, which is also a church, it is incredible to see the light coming through the Pantheon’s oculus. It’s even more amazing to be inside when it is raining and raindrops are coming through the dome.
Smaller than some of the other squares, the piazza also hosts the Fontana del Pantheon along with an obelisk that was added in 1711. Commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII, the Fountain of the Pantheon was designed by Giacomo Della Porta in 1575. Sculpted out of marble, this water feature stands proudly in front of the Pantheon.
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