Monday, October 09, 2006

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

This view over the Piazza dei Popolo 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.

Full 360° panorama of the Piazza del Popolo in Rome

The Piazza del Popolo in Rome is, like so many others, a large expanse of black cobble stones. In the middle of this one stands a 24m high granite obelisk which, some 3,500 years ago, stood before the Temple of the Sun in Heliopolis during the reign of Ramses II. It was brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus and then stood in the centre of the Circus Maximus until being moved to the current site in 1587 under the orders of Sixtus V. At the time of shooting, the obelisk was hidden from view undergoing repairs.

The square has come a long way from more humble beginnings. It used to be a hamlet just inside the Aurelian Walls at the end of the Via Flaminia, and it is from popolus, the Italian for ‘hamlet’, that the name is derived.

The Via del Corso, originally called the via Lata, is very old, leading directly to the Roman Forum. The current name derives from the last 3 centuries of Papal rule when wild horse races took place down it, finishing at the Piazza Venezia.

Leo X added the Via di Ripetta leading directly to the Vatican to aid pilgrims in their journey – though this may have been as much for his benefit as theirs so that they would get there with less risk of being robbed before buying his indulgences. The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is visible on the skyline to the left of the covered obelisk.

To the left near the foreground is a dome of one of two Baroque churches, the S Maria in Montesanto and S Maria Miracoli, which were added in 17C.

The view here is taken from Piazza Napoleone at the top of the steps leading up the Pincian Hill. One of the two fountains at either end of the Piazza del Popolo is visible in the foreground.

The full panoramic image shown on the Rome tour by There is a larger version of the Piazza del Popolo image on Flickr.

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

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