The World’s Best Public Squares
Rome has undoubtedly the most captivating and picturesque squares in the world. This is in part due to their gigantic wide-open space as well their historical and cultural surroundings. St. Peter’s Square , Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotonda are three classic examples a well designed space combined with artistic heritage.
Yet many would say in Rome that is water that makes a city square. That is to say, a Roman piazza just isn’t so without the touch of free flowing spring water from Bernini statues and fonts. And this has been the case since the days of the Roman Empire, when Rome was supplied with fresh water by 11 great aqueducts, including its great fountains and spas in celebration of this great source of life, energy and beauty.
Rome’s breathtaking public squares and fountains were designed by Italy’s greatest medieval, renaissance and baroque architects and civil engineers. Michelangelo and Bernini are just two to have left their permanent imprints on the Roman cityscape.
Our Tour: Our 4-hour “Squares and Fountains” tour will begin at the heart of the ancient city, at Piazza del Campidoglio, where a giant bronze horseman, Marcus Aurelius, still stands guard. The square, dating back to ancient times, was cleverly redesigned by Michelangelo in perfect geometric symmetry.
Just below is Piazza Venezia, which peers onto the colossal state monument, Vittorio Emunuele, restructured by Mussolini. This concrete and marble neoclassical structure is perched high above the ancient Roman Forum – where the ancient capital’s squares and marketplaces were located thousands of years ago. The Forum’s impressive ruins attract millions of visitors worldwide!
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to climb the Vittoria Emanuele’s steps above Piazza Venezia for a bird’s eye view of the ancient imperial city hub.
From there we will take you to Piazza Colonna, whose 30-meter high marble column and reliefs pay testimony to Rome’s greatest philosopher-emperor, Marcus Aurelius. The columns stands erect just as it has since being first commissioned in the 2nd century a.d. to commemorate the emperor’s victory over rebellious German tribes.
Next stop is Piazza del Popolo before heading on to Piazza della Rotonda. Piazza del Popolo (“The People’s Square”) is Rome’s largest public square and site of numerous free cultural events. It is also is the main meeting place for Rome’s youth at the foot of Villa Borghese. More than anything, it is loved for its perfect symmetry, gigantic Egyptian obelisk at its center and “twin churches” located on the south side.
At Piazza della Rotonda, you will be spellbound by an ancient Roman temple of the Pantheon still perfectly intact! The Parthenon was built in honor of all the pagan deities –originally during Augustus’s reign and later restructured by the Emperor Hadrian. Its dome was Rome’s largest until St. Peter’s was commissioned in the 17th century. The square’s fountains date back to Renaissance times. Here again we find another obelisk –taken as booty by Roman armies from great Egyptian Pharaohs.
Then we will take you through the Bernini heartland in Rome. Gianlorenzo Bernini, Rome’s beloved 17th century sculptor and architect, left his most magnificent mark in Piazzas Barberini and Novana, both adorned with giant water spewing marble statues and baths. These are two of Rome’s major social hubs, open markets and favorite places for couples taking nighttime strolls.
Last Stop: Rome’s Most Famous Squares
No tour of Rome’s beloved squares and fountains is complete without a trip to one of her prestigious landmarks: Piazza di Spagna (“The Spanish Steps”), Piazza St. Pietro (“St. Peter’s Square”) and Piazza Fontana Trevi (“Trevi Fountain”).
The three combine perfect geometrical symmetry, civic ambience and panoramic views all in one visual burst of pleasure.
Piazza Fontana Trevi is home to Rome’s fountain par excellence; Piazza San Pietro is Michel Angelo’s civil engineering masterpiece; and Piazza di Spagna, is a favorite place for lover’s to enjoy Rome’s sunsets and outdoor social life.