Thursday, October 12, 2006

Piazza Colonna

Piazza Colonna and Palazzo Colonna

This photo of the Piazza Colonna is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from around Rome linked to an interactive map.

Piazza Colonna is a busy square situated half way along Via del Corso. It is named after the Column of Marcus Aurelius which dominates the centre of the square. The police take a dim view of anyone setting up a tripod near the eastern end of the square as this is also the home of the Prime Minister (see below). Because of this, the panoramic image of which this is a part, was shot by hand and is therefore not perfect.

The Colonna family have owned the Palazzo Colonna situated on the square for over 20 generations. In 1424 the Colonnas were the most powerful feudal force in Rome and when a family member became pope they used the newfound influence to establish themselves here. Part of the Palazzo Colonna, the Galleria Colonna, is open to the public and contains late Renaissance and Baroque works.

The centre of the square is dominated by the 30m high Column of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the ‘Five Good Emperors’ and a stoic philosopher who ruled in the late 2C. The column was erected by his son, Commodus. Originally a statue of Marcus Aurelius and his wife, Faustina, topped the column, but this was replaced by a statue of St. Paul in 1589.

The residence of the Italian Prime Minister is also situated on the square in the Palazzo Chigi which explains the heavy police presence in the square. This has been dubbed the ‘most expensive hotel in Rome’ as on average the occupant has remained in residence for less than a year at a time since the foundation of the Republic. Just around the corner is the Palazzo di Montecitorio in which parliament sits.

In the Middle Ages, the piazza was at the intersection of the two most important pilgrim routes in Rome and a popular market place. One route left Via Salaria for Ponte Sant'Angelo and St. Peter's in the Vatican. The other started at Piazza del Popolo heading for the Campidoglio and San Giovanni in Laterano.

A full panoramic image showing the Piazza Colonna is found on the Rome tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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