The People's Square in RomePeople's Square (Piazza del Popolo), is a central spot in Rome. It is located near the Porta Flaminia, the entrance gate to Ancient Rome. This is the first peek that many visitors get of Rome. Today there are only remnants of the Arch and the name has been changed to "Popolo Gate," like the square where it stands.
This piazza is a significant part of historical events. It is not only the entrance to Ancient Rome. Speeches were given here and performances such as horse racing. Another famous event was the riderless horses, whose departure point was this square.
In the past, this piazza was also the site for executions, the last of which took place in 1826. Nowadays the square is open to pedestrians only and is a central meeting place in the city. You will see street performances and local and international artists. There have also been quite a few demonstrations here, such as those of 2010, as well as a few that got out of control. In the evening you can see the young people of Rome who come to see and be seen.
Architecture of the Square and its ExhibitsIn 1818 the architect Giuseppe Valadier was assigned to redesign the square. It is thanks to his genius that the square is as beautiful and impressive as it is today. His style was Neoclassical.
Over the years, various rulers have added more objects to the square to glorify their own names. One of them was the Egyptian Obelisk from the time of Ramses II (13th century BCE), which was placed in the center of the square, the Obelisco Flaminio and the second oldest obelisk in Rome, 24 meters high, and together with its base is no less than 36 meters high. Upon the obelisk are hieroglyphs describing the life and the time period of the king of Egypt. Water pools at the foot of the obelisk are made of marble and surrounded by marble lions made in the 19th century. Four small fountains surround it, and which have Egyptian characteristics to fit in with the obelisk.
The obelisk was brought to this square by the architect Ernesto Domenico Fontana in 1589, for the obelisk had previously stood in another square.
On both sides of the square you can see the beautiful water fountains, designed by Giovanni Sicherini in 1822-1823. In the square you can also see three impressive churches, among them the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, "Maria of the People".