Rome, Italy

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo literally means the people’s square. The stunning Piazza was set down in the early 16th century to provide a magnificent entrance to the then northern gateway of Rome. However, the famous attraction has been remodeled several times since then.

Situated not far from the Borghese Park, the Piazza del Popolo is a harmonious square that is oval. The Piazza del Popolo was redesigned in the early nineteenth century by Giuseppe Valadier who added lovely walls around the square. The walls gave the Piazza the present oval shape it has. The tourist-attracting Egyptian lions that number four around the obelisk and the central fountain were also added by Giuseppe Valadier. Giovanni Ceccarini, who was an Italian sculptor, created statues of sphinxes to complement the lovely walls of the Piazza del Popolo.

There are two other wall integrated fountains at the Piazza, which are believed to have been designed by Valadier as well. The groups of marble sculptures in the fountains were also designed by Ceccarini between 1818 and 1824. The Neptune Fountain stands on the western end of the square, displaying Neptune and the Tritons, while the fountain of the goddess of Rome, otherwise known as the Fontana Della Dea di Roma, stands on the opposite side. The goddess stands in the center of the Fountain of the Goddess of Rome, complimented by the rivers Aniene and Tiber. The statue of the she-wolf stays below the goddess and suckles the founder of Rome; Romulus and Remus.

The obelisk in the centre of Piazza del Popolo has a height of 73 foot. It was brought from the ancient Heliopolis of Egypt by Emperor Augustus in 10 BC. The obelisk was initially situated in Circo Massimo. It was subsequently moved to the centre of Piazza del Popolo’s square. The obelisk was built as far back as 1300 BC at Heliopolis. The ancient Egyptian structure was erected to commemorate the conquest of Egypt. The twin 17th century churches of the Carlo Rainaldi, which include the Montesanto’s Chiesa di Santa Maria and the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli, guide the southern area of the Piazza del Popolo. There is a third church called the Santa Maria del Popolo. The ancient church was built in the late 15th century near Porta del Popolo at the spot where an 11th century chapel was initially built. Santa Maria del Popolo contains astonishing works of art which include the famous Caravaggio’s paintings and ancient stained glass windows. The Porta del Popolo of the Piazza del Popolo was created on the northern flank by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the mid-seventh century to celebrate the defection of the Swedish Queen Christina to Catholicism.

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