The most evocative locations in Rome: the beautiful Piazza del Popolo, gateway to the historical centre
Rome, the eternal city, deserves to be visited again and again, because it always amazes by its unlimited works of art, monuments, welcoming squares, exclusive shops and its unique views, without boring or disappointing. Indeed, it is always an inexhaustible source of surprises in the eyes of those who know how to capture the most or less known beauties, in all the seasons of the year.
The splendid Piazza del Popolo is among the favourite Roman destinations by tourists who admire its architectural beauty and the characteristics that make it unique in the world. It is a real living room, circular in shape, with prestigious monuments to highlight the four cardinal points. The square can also be admired from above: all you have to do is to go up to the panoramic terrace of the Pincio, in the park with the same name, to get an overall view from a truly privileged point of view. It is beautiful by day, in all its grandeur, and really wonderful in the evening, with the colours of the sunset or the night lights.
Piazza del Popolo is located at the meeting point of the so-called trident, the intersection of three of the most famous streets of Rome: Via del Babuino, Via del Corso and Via di Ripetta and it is a great and impressive access to the historical centre of Rome.
Porta del Popolo
On the northern side, there is the door that leads to the square, today called Porta del Popolo. In the past, however, the door set in the Aurelian walls was called Porta Flaminia because from there the ancient street with the same name started towards Ponte Milvio.
The current Porta del Popolo was built in 1562, commissioned by Pope Pius IV, and realised by Nanni di Baccio Bigio, who developed his art at the school of Michelangelo who and took inspiration from the Arch of Titus, on the slopes of the Palatine Hill. Originally, the door had four columns from the St. Peter's Basilica on the external façade, and two towers with a square base. Later, the statues of Saints Peter and Paul, also from the Basilica of Saint Peter, were inserted between the columns. The two towers were then demolished and the two lateral arches opened to cope with the greater flow of traffic that poured into the city entrance door every day.
The internal part of the facade was instead created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini author, among other things, also of the splendid colonnade of Piazza San Pietro. The occasion for the arrangement of the door was, in 1655, the arrival in Rome of Queen Christina of Sweden, in whose honour the Latin motto was engravedFelici faustoque ingressui that means For a happy entrance.
Church of Santa Maria del Popolo
Exactly beside the door the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo stands, built on the ancient burial place of emperor Nero. The church contains numerous works of art including two beautiful paintings by Caravaggio, representing the conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St. Peter.
In the middle of the square, the Flaminio obelisk stands: it is the oldest and the second tallest in Rome, given that the base and the cross placed on the top it exceed 36 metres in height. The obelisk was made in Egypt in the 13th century BC, at the time of the pharaohs Ramesses II and Seti I and taken to Rome, at the behest of Octavian Augustus, in 10 BC. Originally, it was placed at the Circus Maximus, and finally moved at the end of 1500.
At the basis of the obelisk, there is a perennial guard of four imposing lions in white marble, from whose open mouths a fan-shaped water spout falls into the four round travertine basins below.
On the east and west sides, in the middle of the two curved walls delimiting the square, there are the two fountains designed by architect Giuseppe Valadier in the first half of the 1800s. On the western side, the fountain dedicated to Neptune presents itself with the god of the sea standing in all its grandeur, holding the trident by his right hand. At his feet, to even more emphasize his magnificence, two tritons and two dolphins are placed.
On the opposite side, just below the panoramic terrace of the Pincio, there is the fountain with the statue of the goddess of Rome, with two seated statues representing the Tiber and the Aniene. At the foot of the goddess, there is the Capitoline wolf feeding Romulus and Remus, symbol of the eternal city.
The twin churches
The most striking peculiarity of the square, making it truly unique in the world, is the presence, on the south side, of two churches called "twins" and dedicated to Santa Maria in Montesanto (better known as the Church of the Artists) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The two churches, however, present notable differences, above all concerning the plan. The first one actually is elliptical whereas the second has a circular plan. From outside, however, they are very similar, as both are decorated by a rectangular pronaos surmounted by a tympanum, and they have a peculiar octagonal dome and two twin bell towers. This is why they are commonly identified as twins.
Staying in Rome
A visit to Rome, to be able to admire even a part of its wonders, certainly requires more days of stay, even an entire week. This can obviously involve a considerable expense if you choose to stay in a hotel. But there is a cheaper way to experience the capital, and that is to rent an apartment for the desired period. In addition to the lower cost, the stay in the apartment also has other interesting advantages, such as the possibility to choose between the infinite possibilities that best suit your needs and the area of the city where you want to stay, perhaps directly in the historical centre, a few steps from the Colosseum. Added to this , greater freedom of movement as you will not be subjected to the strict schedules imposed by a hotel. Choosing an apartment is simple, just take a look at www.comfortstayinrome.com to find the right solution.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Comfort Stay in Rome, ideal for discovering Rome thanks to its strategic position.Book now