The eternal city of Rome has a special charm that creates the need of wanting to discover all its streets, squares, monuments and churches. All these places are full of history, are very touristic but most of all very beautiful.
We visited Rome for the first time in December 2017. Although it was very, very cold, we wanted to see all the squares in the city.
We used several layers of clothes, gloves and boots and went out into the streets of Rome.
We spent 4 days in the city and we visited a lot of places, including a lot of squares.
In this post we will tell you which are, in our opinion, the 8 most beautiful squares in Rome that will make you want to travel to Italy as soon as possible.
What you will find in this post:
St. Peter's Square
St. Peter’s Square actually belongs to Vatican City. We don’t know if it counts exactly as a square in Rome but it is certainly the most beautiful one we visited on our trip to Rome.
And hey… everyone visits the Vatican when they travel to Rome.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Catholic or not, a believer or not, St. Peter’s Square must be visited, no matter what! This artwork by Bernini is a must-see for any traveler.
We went to see it three times: once just to have a look, but without entering, the second to visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the third because the day before we found the access to the dome closed and we did not want to leave Rome without seeing the square from above.
The climb up to the dome it’s not that easy because there are 551 steps, getting steeper, narrower and more difficult to climb. When you get to the top all the effort is rewarded by the incredible views of Vatican City and Rome.
There is also the possibility to go up by elevator to the step 221 and then by foot, but once there, we climb them by foot.
It is difficult to describe how it feels to see from above an entire country, even if it is the smallest in Europe.
The ticket to climb the dome costs €8 taking the lift and €6 if you go by foot.
What we do recommend, both if you want to climb the dome, or if you just want to walk around the square, is to get up early.
Rome is one of the most touristic cities we have seen and the queues to get to the basilica, the dome or even to the square itself are very long.
So get up early!
Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna, also called the Spanish Steps, is one of the most famous squares in Rome.
Located at the foot of the Trinitá dei Monti steps, Piazza di Spagna is one of the best known images of Rome and one of the main meeting points for both Romans and tourists.
The name of the square comes from the location of the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See in the same square.
In the center of the square you can see the Fontana della Barcaccia, a boat-shaped fountain, also by Bernini, built in memory of the Tiber flood in 1598
Located close to several shopping streets, Piazza di Spagna is one of the favourite spots for tourists and an obligatory stop if you visit Rome.
We also recommend you to go up the stairs and visit the church Trinità dei Monti. From up there views are great and you can see the longitude of Rome’s main streets.
Piazza di Trevi
In Piazza di Trevi is located the Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous attractions in Rome and the second thing we think of when someone speaks about Rome (the first is always the Colosseum).
The square itself is much smaller than we had imagined. In all the pictures we only see the fountain but not the square, but it is beautiful and the fountain is wonderful.
If you pass by the Trevi Fountain, don’t forget to throw a coin into the fountain, so that one day you will return to Rome.
In this case we recommend you to get up early or to go at night to avoid the crowds.
As we have already mentioned, Rome is packed with tourists and there is no time during the day when the attractions are clear to enjoy them better.
We went in the afternoon and the square was so crowded that we couldn’t even take a picture without people in the background.
Of course, we believe that the fountain has some kind of magic that makes you stare at it without blinking and we hope that the coin is not just a myth and that it will take us back to Rome one day.
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square) is not as famous as the previous ones, but we were fascinated by its greatness.
The square takes its name from the Basilica Santa Maria del Popolo, where you can find two pieces by Caravaggio.
In the center of the square you can see Rome’s largest obelisk, built in honor to the Pharaoh Ramses II.
Another interesting fact about this square, is that there are two identical churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto.
From Piazza del Popolo three of Rome’s most important streets ramify: Via del Babuino, which leads to Piazza di España, Via di Ripetta which leads to Piazza Navona and Via del Corso, Rome’s main street, which leads to Piazza Venezia.
If you like panoramic viewpoints and you don’t mind ascending a small hill, the best place to see Piazza del Popolo is Terraza del Pincio, a part of Villa Borghese Park. This place is located right next to the square.
Piazza Venezia is not just one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, but also one of our favourite squares in Europe.
Altare della Patria (“Homeland’s Altar”) is an imposing monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II. With its extraordinary whiteness and considerable size, the Homeland’s Altar is the centrepiece of Piazza Venezia.
It’s possible to access the building interior and the viewpoint on the first floor for free. If you want to go up to the rooftop, you have to take a panoramic elevator that costs €7.
You must see this square during the day but also at night because it is very different.
If you travel during Christmas time as we did, here you will see there the most beautiful Christmas tree in Rome.
Piazza della Rotonda
Maybe you haven’t heard of Piazza della Rotonda, but you’ve probably heard of the Agripa Pantheon.
The Pantheon is the most impressive monument we visited in Rome.
Yes, the Colosseum is not everything!
The long columns of the Pantheon and the height of the building make everyone in the square feel small. It’ s a monument that really impresses with its greatness.
The entrance to the Pantheon is free and that’s a complete privilege considering that this is the best preserved building in Ancient Rome.
Inside there are tombs of several Italian kings and artists and the most outstanding thing is the aperture in the ceiling, which allows natural light to enter and it makes the atmosphere inside simply magical.
Piazza della Rotonda is not as famous as the ones we’ve mentioned above, but you have to see it!
Piazza Cavour is unknown among tourists, it doesn’t appear in travel guides and we came across it wandering the streets of Rome.
This square is home to the Palace of Justice, a huge baroque style building, built after Rome’s proclamation as the capital of Italy.
Cavour square is neighboring Sant’Angelo Castle, so if you are going to visit the castle we recommend you to also check out Piazza Cavour to admire the greatness of the building and the beautiful fountains on the facade.
Tours and activities in Rome
As well as St. Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona is also Bernini’s work (this gentleman left his footprint everywhere).
In the square there are three fountains, but the one that stands out the most is Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). This fountain is dedicated to four rivers of the four continents known at the time Bernini made it: The Nile for Africa, the Danube for Europe, La Plata for America and the Ganges for Asia.
It’s a beautiful square, very busy day and night. In the square itself and also in the surrounding area, there are plenty of restaurants and also many street artists, such as magicians or dancers.
We were lucky to visit Rome in December, when everything was already being decorated for Christmas and we have to say that in Piazza Navona the Christmas lights and atmosphere stood out.
We visited this square twice, and both times it was dark. We imagine that during the day the square has to be even more beautiful, but to discover it we will have to return to Rome.
P.S. We liked this square a lot and we really enjoyed the tiramisu they sell nearby, that we forgot to take pictures (twice :D).
As we said at the beginning, these are the 8 most beautiful squares in Rome, in our opinion. The four days we spent in Rome were not enough for everything this city has to offer.
How much do you want to save on your trip to Rome?
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