What to see in Rome? Squares and fountains

If you are thinking of a trip to Rome, we suggest a small tour through its most famous and beautiful squares and fountains.

Unique places, which have contributed a great deal to the world’s fame of the Eternal City.

So here is a tour that will fill your time and your eyes with beauty.

PIAZZA DEL POPOLO AND VALADIER FOUNTAINS

The starting point is Piazza del Popolo, at the foot of the Pincio hill, where the three main streets of the historic center of Rome meet: Via del Corso, Via di Ripetta and Via del Babuino.

We are in one of the dearest squares to the Romans, witness of the Roman and of a thousand-year history, as documented by its many monuments: the twin churches of Santa Maria di Montesanto, also known as the Church of the Artists and Santa Maria dei Miracoli; the obelisk Flaminius, the first to be transferred to Rome at the time of Emperor Augustus, to celebrate the conquest of Egypt. The magnificent Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, whose foundation dates back to the 15th cantury, with extraordinary masterpieces preserved inside, like the Chigi Chapel designed by Raphael and realized by Bernini; the altarpiece with the Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci or the Cerasi Chapel with the works of Caravaggio.

And finally, the fountains, in particular, those designed at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the architect Valadier: that of the Lions, at the foot of the obelisk, with round basins in travertine and four white lions whose mouths gush jets of water .

Or the fountain of Neptune, at the center of the western hemicycle, with the statue of the god of the sea armed with a trident, tritons, dolphins and a large valve of shell that collects water from a small basin above.

On the opposite hemicycle (the square has an original elliptical shape) instead emerges the fountain of the Goddess Rome, with its spectacular sculptural group, at whose feet you can admire the wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus.

PIAZZA BARBERINI AND THE BERNINI FOUNTAINS

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Our tour continues to Piazza Barberini, where we are literally captured by the gushing of two fountains by the great architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The most famous, in the center, is the seventeenth-century fountain of Triton, with the sea monster depicted in the act of standing and blowing in a shell from which flows the water that moves along the whole sculptural group. At the base, standing out, four dolphins with braided tails.

Bernini is also the creator of other fountain, called Fountain delle Api, at the beginning of via Veneto, originally born as a fountain for travelers.

PIAZZA DI SPAGNA AND THE BARCACCIA FOUNTAIN

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Now, we leave Piazza Barberini to head to one of the most iconic places in Rome, Piazza di Spagna with the Spanish steps and the famous Fontana della Barcaccia, the masterpiece of another Bernini, Pietro, father of Gian Lorenzo.

This fountin has the shape of a bit unusual boat with the bow and stern identical and the sides very low, almost about to sink, immersed in an oval pool.

For the Romans it has always been the barcaccia, because this was the name of the boats used on the Tiber, which set sail from the nearby port of Ripetta.

The setting is fairytale to say the least, with the wonderful eighteenth-century staircase of Trinità dei Monti, Rome’s living room and meeting point pour excellence, which serves as a junction between the slopes of the Pincio and the underlying Spanish Steps.

PIAZZA E FONTANA DI TREVI

We now take a look to what it is considered the largest fountain in Rome, in the square of the same name, at the confluence of three streets in the historic center: that of Trevi, designed by the architect Nicola Salvi commissioned by Pope Clement XII, in 1732 and completed by Giuseppe Pannini.

Leaning against Palazzo Poli, the fountain shows off its wide and spectacular basin moved by a mighty cliff, on which dominates the statue of Ocean that drives a chariot shaped like a shell pulled by two winged horses, ruled in turn by two newts.

According to a nice tradition, whoever throws a coin into the water basin, will definitely return to Rome.

PIAZZA DEL PANTHEON AND THE RENAISSANCE FOUNTAIN

It is also called Piazza della Rotonda, because of the circular shape of the Pantheon, considered the best preserved monument of ancient Rome.

Right in front, at the center of the square, stands the Renaissance fountain in African marble, designed by Giacomo della Porta, moved by spectacular masks from which depart jets of water. It is surmounted by an obelisk covered with hieroglyphics, that make it an authentic architectural jewel.

PIAZZA NAVONA AND THE THREE FOUTAINS

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We now reach, at the end of this intense tour, Piazza Navona, one of the most characteristic corners of Baroque Rome, surrounded by buildings built on the remains of the Stadium of Emperor Domitian (86d.C.).

Over the centuries, the square has been the scene of popular celebrations, rides, races and today it welcomes visitors with an excellent set of monuments, from the beautiful church of Saint Agnese in Agone, finished by Borromini, to Palazzo Pamphili, home of the Brazilian embassy, to the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, built for the jubilee of 1450.

In this square, there are even three fountains: that of the Moor, with the statue of the Ethiopian fighting with a dolphin; that of the Calderari also called Neptune and, in the center, the great fountain of the Four Rivers by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, that thought of it as a large travertine cliff, which supports an obelisk of granite from the Circus of Maxentius on the ancient Appian way.

At the corners of the cliff, stand out the imposing marble statues of the four rivers (Danube, Ganges, Nile and Rio della Plata), which symbolize the continents at the time unknown and that give the whole complex a great visual impact.

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