Campo de’ Fiori is one of the liveliest neighboorhood in Rome, a favorite gathering space at all hours of the day. It’s located between charming narrow streets, few steps from the Tiber and the Jewish Ghetto. Not really far from Piazza Navona. When in Rome, have a stroll here, because is one of the places to visit in Rome. Have a look at our tour in Rome city centre.
Its name literally translated means “field of flowers”. The square known as Campo de’ Fiori was once a meadow. During the Ancient times, it was located between the Pompey’s Theater and the Tiber River. Because the river was prone to flooding, the area left undeveloped for many centuries.
The place, as we see today, began to take shape during the fifteenth Century. Pope Callistus III paved it on 1456 as, by that time, several palaces had been built in the area, among them Palazzo Orsini and Palazzo della Cancelleria.
Anyway, the square was never architecturally formalized, so the buildings are all mismatched and add charme to the picturesque quality of the square.
The place quickly grew as a place for socializing, trade and commerce among Romans. Its popularity drew new businesses, workshops, inns and taverns, making this neighborhood one of the most prosperous of the city.
For centuries public executions took place in the square. Here, criminals and heretics were often tortured and executed here. Among them the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno in 1600 found the death burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition because the ideas he spoke of were “dangerous”. The Dominican friar was one of the first to realize that stars are actually suns in the universe.
In 1889, sculptor and freemason Ettore Ferrari designed a statue of Bruno. The statue faces the Vatican as if in defiance of all it stands for. Bruno is for sure a martyr of the right to free speech.
Today the square is much more pleasant than in the Middle Age and is currently one of the most beloved parts of the city. Since 1869, every morning from Monday through Saturday it houses a market well-known for its flowers, fruit and vegetable.
After sunsets, the area comes alive when throngs of young Romans gather here to drink at the many bars in the square.
Palazzo della Cancelleria: This building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once the Papal Chancellery and still belongs to the Holy See. It now houses the Romana Rota, the Holy See’s highest ecclesiastical court. A long-standing exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci’s machines and designs replica is open to the public.
Palazzo Farnese: Currently the home of the French embassy to Italy, it is one of the most imponent Renaissance palaces in Rome. Artists such as Giacomo Della Porta and Michelangelo left their mark on the majestic palace. Behind this elegant building runs the quaint Via Giulia, which is pleasant to walk down to avoid the noise and crowds.