Piazza del Popolo, Rome
Start your tour at Piazza del Popolo, an elegant entrance into the city, embellished by churches, fountains and monuments. Take up your first challenge here - spot the difference between two “false twin” churches. Nero, a pyromaniac, was buried in this piazza beneath a nut tree. The spot became haunted by demons and was a meeting place for the witches and wizards of Rome. Are you curious to know how they resolved the problem?
Now continue to the Piazza Spagna and immerse yourself in an 18th-century atmosphere created by ochre-colored buildings, the Bernini fountain and a monumental staircase. It is one of the most famous images of the city. Admire the elegant Spanish Steps and, at their foot, the famous Barcaccia Fountain that has the characteristic form of a sinking ship. Does the fountain recall a terrible flood that once hit the city and carried the fishing boat to this exact spot? Or did Bernini just invent the sinking boat to overcome a problem of poor water pressure?
Our next destination is an impressive display at the termination of the ancient Roman Virgo aqueduct, 49m long and 26m high, the largest fountain in all Rome, and undisputedly the most beautiful in the city – the Trevi Fountain. Famous throughout the world, few people really know its full history, legends, and other curiosities. It’s time to do justice to this extraordinary symbol of Baroque Rome.
Now we will move to the refined and elegant Piazza Rotonda, also known as the Piazza of the Pantheon. The Pantheon is the maximum expression of the glory of Rome. It inspired the greatest architects of the Renaissance period such as Raphael who is buried inside. It is the only Roman building (founded between 25 and 27 B.C.) that survives practically intact. Originally dedicated to 12 pagan gods, it was converted into a Christian Basilica of Sancta Maria ad Martyrs in 608.
Many curiosities await you here. What does the inscription “M. Agrippa L.F: Cos. Terium fecit” mean? Or the saying “What the Barbarians didn’t do, the Barberini did”? Does it rain inside the Pantheon? What were the donkey’s ears? Why is the moat around the Pantheon called a devil’s one? Why can it be rendered a perfect sphere? Discover all this and more. Do not forget to admire the splendid Renaissance fountain in the center of the square and follow your guide to see another architectural miracle – the picturesque Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona is built on the ancient stadium of Domician, hence its strange long oval shape. The focus of this splendid piazza is its three fountains – the Fountain of the Moor, the Fountain of Neptune and the most important one at the center, the Fountain of the Four Rivers. An incredible population of animals, both real and fantasy ones, animate the fountains. We may pause and try to discover them. There are dolphins, a dove, a crocodile or maybe a sea monster, a lion, a dragon, a horse, snakes, a snail, a crab, an octopus, griffins…
Now we will take a short trip to a small but lively square called Campo dei Fiori. “Fiori” means “flowers” and the piazza owes its name to the daisies and poppies, to “forget-me-not” and the meadow flowers that once adorned the square. Despite its charming name, the piazza was regularly used as a place of execution after 1600. Many people met their fate here either by being burned or hung.