"Piazza del Popolo, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 29th April 2011
Starting from the Middle Ages it was the main entrance to the city from north. Thus, it was the main meeting place of the foreigners, rather than of Romans. Originally it was a large place limited by the walls and different buildings, with the church of S.Maria del Popolo, from which the name "Piazza del Popolo" derives.
The place was turned into a square by Sixtus V, who erected in the middle of it a 24m high (with the basement 36m) Egyptian obelisk (13th-12th centuries b.C.), one of two obelisks discovered in Circus Maximus, and wanted it to be the junction of three roads, famous trident, taking their beginning from here: Via del Corso, Via di Ripetta and Via del Babuino.
Under Pius VII the square was given its present aspect by G.Valadier, who created two semi-cycles, arranged a slope of the terrace of Pincio, and built four symmetrical constructions on the corners of the square.
By the motives of symmetry the barracks of Carabinieri received the same dome that is on the church of S.Maria del Popolo in front of it (at present it is a Headquarter of the regional legion of Carabinieri "Lazio"). In the middles of side exedras there are two fountains: Neptune between two tritons (western) and Rome between Tiber and Aniene (eastern). In 1573 in the middle of the square a fountain by G.Della Porta was placed, but in 1818 G.Valadier replaced it with the fountain of four Egyptian lions. (The old fountain is now in Piazza Nicosia).
From Piazza del Popolo the sumptuous processions of kings and ambassadors took place, and the carnival feasts were performed as well. It was a start of the famous horse race along Via del Corso.
To the great niche on the slope of Pincio in 1936 was added a water-fall as a fountain demonstrating the water of new Aqueduct Vergine (pictured above).
Piazza del Popolo is a large urban square in Rome. The name in modern Italian literally means "People's Square", but historically it derives from the poplars (populus in Latin, pioppo in Italian) after which the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in the northeast corner of the piazza, takes its name.
Piazza del Popolo for centuries was a place of executions, the last took place in 1826.
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo, 18,
(Via del Corso, 00186)
00186, 00187, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Campo Marzio (P.Spagna-P.Popolo-Pincio) (Roma centro)
Piazza del Popolo is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "6"
Subway: Flaminio (206 m NW), Spagna (766 m SE), Lepanto ( 921 m W) - Metro Underground line: A