Piazza del Popolo is one of the most ancient squares in Rome. Retained as place of public executions until the first half of the 19th century, Piazza del Popolo marks the starting point of the ancient Via Flaminia (which connected Rome to the north of Italy, including the modern Rimini, back then called Ariminum). By means of the several other thoroughfares which cross it, Piazza del Popolo is linked to Piazza Venezia (by Via del Corso, formerly known as Via Lata), to the Mausoleum of Augustus (by Via di Ripetta) and to Piazza di Spagna (by Via del Babuino). Via del Babuino is, amongst others, known for its antiques shops (just like Via del Corso, though Via del Corso is also retained for its opportunities in terms of fashion shops and boutiques).

As it stands out today, the piazza was designed by Rome-born Giuseppe Valadier (between 1811 and 1822). It is centrally overlooked by the slender and imposing Obelisk of Ramses II (surrounded, at its base, by four small fountains, which form the so-called Fontana dell’Obelisco) which enjoys the balanced backdrop of the so-called twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Also noteworthy is the mid 16th century gate, Porta del Popolo, which assumed it current name only after a few centuries of existence (it was originally called Porta Flaminia).

Adding the fact the square nestles between the Quirinal Hill and the Pincian Hill (notable for its much celebrated Villa Borghese Gardens), it becomes obvious Piazza del Popolo can not and should not be overlooked by tourists who want to experience Rome to the full extent of all its essential attractions, especially because at present Piazza del Popolo is a wide pedestrian area, ideal for long strolls under the Roman sky.

Churches in Piazza del Popolo: Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto, Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Church of Santa Maria del Popolo

Fountains: Fontana del Nettuno, Fontana dell’Obelisco

Piazza del Popolo
Rome, Italy