Visiting the Italian capital city? Then you must add one of these best piazzas in Rome to your sightseeing itinerary. They are free to visit, easy to access within the city centre, and are surrounded by stunning architecture!
Italy is a unique country with natural beauty that’s hard to beat, no matter where you are. Something synonymous with Italy is the incandescent piazzas that give its cities a center.
Although ancient Rome was the forefather of the piazza, these cultural and historical spaces are still magical throughout the country. That said, the Eternal City is hands down the undisputed champion of piazzas.
Even if you only have one day in Rome, visiting some of its iconic piazzas is always in order. So, get ready to discover the best Roman piazzas that you simply have to see and, like us, will never forget.
16 Best piazzas in Rome you’ll never forget | Roman Piazzas
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1. Piazza del Popolo
Starting with a bang, the People’s Square is a lively city center that draws in locals and tourists alike. The Piazza del Popolo is where three main streets — Babuino, Ripetta, and Corso — intricately weave together to form a central meeting point.
At the heart of this oval piazza is the impressive Flaminio Obelisk, which juts 78 feet (24 meters) into the sky above. The obelisk was moved to the Piazza del Popolo in 1589 to celebrate the conquest of Egypt by Augustus.
The majestic archway of Porta del Popolo creates a dramatic entrance into the square as you look upon the Egyptian obelisk and Via del Corso.
While the Fountain of the Lions surrounds the obelisk, the Fountain of the Goddess Rome to the east and the Fountain of Neptune to the left complete the square’s makeup.
The Piazza del Popolo is more than its ornate sculptures, though, as you can find some fantastic museums and galleries nearby.
The Basilica di Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli sit adjacent like sisters to the south of the center. On the opposite side, you can discover the beauty of Santa Maria del Popolo or explore the Museo Leonardo Da Vinci.
Simply put, the Piazza del Popolo is a must-visit.
2. Piazza di Spagna
You won’t find a more photogenic part of Rome than the Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna. It is one of the most famous squares in Rome, but once you’ve visited the bougainvillea-lined piazza, you’ll see exactly why this is.
The crystal clear water of the boat-shaped Bernini Fountain blesses the base of the iconic steps. As you walk the 137 steps up to the precipice, the Trinita dei Monti awaits your arrival in its classic Renaissance style.
Although the church and fountain are the standout features of Piazza di Spagna, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Its long triangular shape directs your gaze towards the Corinthian Column of Immaculate Conception.
The column stands tall and proud with a statue of the Virgin Mary at its base, and it would be such a shame not to snap a photo or two here.
The grandiose Palazzo di Spagna, the dwelling of the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, inspired its famous name.
Top Tip: While at the Piazza di Spagna, take a moment and admire the center while sipping a fresh espresso at Babington’s.
3. Piazza Navona
For some time in one of the most famous piazzas in Rome, step into the restaurant and bar-lined cobblestone streets of Piazza Navona.
The Fiumi Fountain rests in the center of this illustrious square, created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651 for Pope Innocent X. The former pope’s family palace — Palazzo Pamphili — looks onto this masterful fountain, which personifies the four rivers: Ganges, Danube, Nile, and Plate.
The Palazzo Pamphili is also worth visiting, as its magical frescoes will take you back to the height of the Renaissance. Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno round off the mesmerizing fountains in this elongated dome-shaped piazza.
What makes Piazza Navona such a unique space is what it was built on. The piazza sits atop the ruins of the Stadio di Domiziano, an ancient stadium that held up to 30,000 people.
Although the remnants of the stadium are non-existent, you can always learn about the games it hosted at the Museo Dei Gladiatori.
Let’s not forget the vast range of eateries that circle the square. You can’t go wrong grabbing a gelato at Cremì Gelateria or enjoying a streetside meal at Camillo dal 1890.
PS: This is the most visited Piazza in Rome, so be ready for large crowds.
4. Piazza di Santa Maria
Trastevere is a trendy part of the city with bespoke bars and a lively atmosphere. No place epitomizes Trastevere’s iconic scenery more than Piazza Santa Maria.
This is one historic part of town, as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is considered the oldest cathedral in Rome. The basilica has intricate frescoes with golden frames and stained-glass windows, giving it an ethereal glow.
The center of the Piazza Santa Maria has a glorious fountain, like most squares in the city. It’s also one of the oldest fountains in Rome, dating back as far as 1471 when Pietro del Massaio first documented it.
Although you can see locals and tourists walking through the piazza during the day, it really comes to life at night. Places like Caffè di Marzio and Holy Mary stay open to the early hours of the morning.
You’ll also be able to admire the Fontana di Santa Maria in all its beauty, as nightlights give it an incandescent glow. Need we say more?
5. Piazza del Campidoglio
Rising high at the top of Capitoline Hill, you’ll find the architectural wonder that is Piazza del Campidoglio. With the Roman Forum resting just below the square, you’re not far from one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Nuovo, and Palazzo Senatorio surround the square, with the Cordonata Capitolina stairway leading up to the piazza.
You can admire Michelangelo’s geometric genius from the top of the steps at Palazzo Senatorio. The oval piazza has an intricate pavement design that culminates in a twelve-pointed star at its center.
The Marcus Aurelius statue sits at the star’s center — a pleasant change from the classic fountain-based centerpiece in most piazzas.
Two more sculptures near the leading stairway look onto the center of this famous square. This draws all attention toward Piazza del Campidoglio. Once you’ve spent some time at this summit in Rome, you’ll understand why Michelangelo chose this location for the piazza.
6. Campo de’ Fiori
If you’re looking for the most famous market in Rome, look no further than Campo de’ Fiori. It’s the perfect place to get an authentic taste of Italy, with all the freshest local ingredients on offer.
At its center, you’ll find the bronze sculpture of Giordano Bruno, a philosopher and Dominican monk who was executed at this very spot. It’s also the only piazza in Rome that doesn’t have a church nearby.
But people don’t (only) come to Campo de’ Fiori for the Medieval architecture. They come here for food, wine, and a good time. If you arrive between 07:00 am and 02:00 pm, you can shop till you drop at one of Rome’s most famous markets.
As the sun sets over this picturesque region, bars and restaurants start filling up. Bar hopping here is easy and fun, with places like Roma Beer Company and Taba Cafe offering a bespoke Italian experience.
7. Piazza Della Rotonda
We’re sure everyone knows the Pantheon, but not everyone knows that the Piazza Della Rotonda is its square. That’s right, all those iconic photos you’ve seen of the Pantheon were taken from the Piazza del Pantheon.
The Fontana Del Pantheon sits at the center of the square, with perfectly carved dolphins almost jumping straight out of the marble sculpture. The fountain is the perfect place to rest your legs and listen to the sound of flowing water before entering the Pantheon.
Then there’s the Egyptian obelisk that climbs out of the central fountain. Interestingly the obelisk was originally from the Temple of Ra in Heliopolis before being moved here in 1711.
There’s one more little secret we have to tell you. If you look to the right of the Pantheon, you’ll see a sign that reads Antica Salumeria. Above this, you’ll find the one-of-a-kind 18th-century fresco, Medonnella.
This ghostly painting is the perfect photo opportunity. Once you’ve got that perfect shot, head into L’Antica Salumeria for all your shopping essentials.
8. Piazza San Pietro (Vatican City)
St Peter’s Square is easily the most famous piazza in Rome. Well, technically, it’s in Vatican City, but we’ll make an exception.
Its immense size is something to behold, as it can hold up to 300,000 people at once. The Egyptian obelisk at its center cuts St Peter’s Basilica perfectly in half when you approach the square from Via della Conciliazione.
While the basilica dominates Piazza San Pietro, its true beauty is seen in the 284 columns and 88 pilasters that hold up the surrounding colonnade. Above these columns rest 140 statues of saints.
We know it’s a ridiculous number, but it just shows the skill of Roman architects and artists.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed this magnificent square, and after his death, a fountain was dedicated to him to the left of the obelisk.
On the other side, the Moderno Fountain has tranquil water flowing from it, and as you walk towards the basilica, the Sistine Chapel is to your right.
Interesting Fact: St. Peter’s Basilica has an optical illusion where it appears to get bigger the further away you walk.
9. Piazza di Trevi | Trevi Fountain Piazza
Are you unsure as to how many days in Rome is enough? Whatever the case, we believe a visit to Piazza di Trevi should always be on the cards.
We’ve mentioned plenty of water features in this list, but none are as beautiful or popular as Trevi Fountain. Many people believe the central character of this majestic sculpture is Neptune when it is, in fact, the Titan Oceanus.
The sculpture depicts him controlling two merhorses with his triton. The merhorses differ, though, with one calming and restful and the other wild and untamed.
The essence of this fountain’s mythological story represents the ocean’s moods.
This may be the largest and most beautiful fountain, but it also gets unspeakably busy, so much so that you may not be able to see the sculpture properly. This is why coming in the early hours of the morning is ideal. That way, you’ll get a chance to throw a coin in its turquoise waters, like in the 1956 movie The Coins in a Fountain.
Interesting Fact: The Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Fontana di Trevi, opposite the fountain, holds 22 perfectly preserved Pope hearts. It’s an odd one but equally interesting.
10. Piazza della Repubblica
Allow dazzling nightlights of the semi-circular colonnade to bring Piazza della Repubblica to life.
There’s no denying the beauty of this busy square, with the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri on the one end and the multi-story colonnade on the other.
Via Nazionale is the best way to enter the piazza, as the Fountain delle Naiadi awaits.
You can gaze upon the glorious bronze sculptures of four nymphs lying on aquatic animals, each symbolizing the different forms of water.
While this large fountain is the centerpiece of this piazza, the Michelangelo-designed basilica steals the show. Previously a part of the Baths of Diocletian, you can now admire the Meridiana and Clementine lines that ordain the floors of this Catholic church.
11. Piazza Venezia
Rome has plenty of historical significance, but there’s probably no place more important to its modern history than Piazza Venezia. This is where four main roads converge; Via del Plebiscito, Via del Corso, Via dei Fori Imperiali, and Via di Teatre Marcello.
What makes it so important, you may be asking? For starters, Italy’s fascist leader Benito Mussolini used Palazzo Venezia as his base of operations during World War II. Today, this iconic building is a museum that exhibits Medieval and Renaissance artworks.
Not only does it have historical significance, but it also has some of the most impressive sculptures in the city. Take photos near works such as Statua L’Azione di Francesco Jerace, Statua di Giulio Monteverde, or the Equestrian Statue of Vittorio Emanuele II.
Simply put, you’ll never run out of photo opportunities here.
12. Piazza del Colosseo
The Colosseum is easily the most identifiable landmark in the city, and there’s no better place to see it than at Piazza del Colosseo. As a matter of fact, you can’t really see the Colosseum without being in the square, as it encapsulates this mesmerizing landmark.
Before entering the world’s largest amphitheater, you can relax at one of the many fantastic cafes that dot the square.
Some of the top eateries in the area include Ristoro Della Salute and Hostaria Al Gladiatore, each offering unique perspectives of the mighty landmark.
Now, this may not be the focal point of this area, but don’t forget to stop by the memorable Arch of Constantine.
Top Tip: Find the perfect accommodation with a view of the Colosseum in our best Rome hotels post.
13. Piazza Mattei
Piazza Mattei is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, and it’s full of stunning Renaissance architecture. It is located in the Sant’Angelo district, just a few steps away from Largo di Torre Argentina.
Look out for the iconic Fontana delle Tartarughe or the Turtle Fountain here, which was built in 1581 as a gift from Pope Gregory XIII to the Mattei family.
The fountain features cute bronze turtles that were actually added almost a hundred years later by Bernini.
Take some time to explore this area and you’ll find plenty of interesting artwork and sculptures. Make sure to take pictures with one of the most famous sculptures in the piazza, The Weeping Angel. Simply put, Piazza Mattei is a must-see for anyone visiting Rome.
14. Piazza di Pietra
Piazza di Pietra is a small piazza located in the heart of Rome near the Pantheon, and it’s one of the oldest places in the city. It was constructed during the Roman Empire, and its name was derived from the rocks or stones used to create the piazza (Piazza of Rocks).
Look out for the 11 Corinthian columns that grace a modern building. The Temple of Hadrian, built in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian by his successor and adopted son can be found here.
These columns were heavily restored by UNESCO, and today, the Temple of Hadrian is home to Borsa Valoridi Roma, Rome’s stock exchange. Highly recommend stopping by here, after visiting the Pantheon in the early morning hours.
15. Piazza Farnese
This gorgeous Rome piazza is located near Campo de’ Fiori and features some of the most impressive Renaissance architecture in the city. It’s home to Palazzo Farnese, which was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger for cardinal Alessandro Farnese in 1514.
Stroll through this beautiful piazza and you’ll find some of the most remarkable sculptures and monuments in Rome.
The most important buildings surrounding the square include the Palazzo Farnese, the church, and the convent of Santa Brigida.
You’ll want to take pictures with Palazzo Farnese’s hallmark: two identical decorative fountains that greet guests at its entrance. Known as the Fontane della Piazza Farnese, they were established in the 17th century by Cardinal Farnese using two huge Roman baths from the Caracalla Baths.
Now to truly appreciate this piazza, it’s best to come here at night when the square is lit up and looks even more stunning.
16. Piazza Barberini
Located in the heart of Rome, Piazza Barberini is a beautiful piazza that dates back to the 16th century. It is established on Quirinal Hill.
Here, you’ll find some stunning examples of Baroque architecture, including Fontana del Tritone which was built by Bernini in 1643. This piazza is also home to Palazzo Barberini, one of the most important Baroque palaces in Rome.
Built by Carlo Maderno and two other architects, it now houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art, where you can view some of the city’s finest artworks.
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast or just looking for a great spot to take pictures, Piazza Barberini is an absolute must-visit. So make sure to add it to your itinerary when you’re in Rome.
Map of Best Roman Piazzas
What is a piazza? And why were piazzas established in the Middle Ages?
A piazza is a public square. It is an Italian term and refers to a square or marketplace.
Piazzas have served many purposes in the past. Some served as a political center, others as a religious base, and many as a trading or mercantile area (marketplace).
Tips on visiting Roman piazzas
When visiting Rome and its beautiful piazzas do keep the following things in mind,
- Wear comfortable shoes: Rome is a big city and there are lots of cobblestones, so wear good walking shoes.
- Be aware of pickpockets: Rome is generally safe, but as with any big city, it’s always wise to keep an eye on your belongings. Be mindful of street performers and avoid overly crowded spaces.
- Make the most of your piazza visit: Check opening times for attractions or museums near the piazzas before planning your visit. Some places may have different hours than those listed online.
Most of all, take time to enjoy the atmosphere. Many of these piazzas offer outdoor seating where you can grab a cup of Italian coffee and watch the local life pass by.
Best places to stay in Rome Italy
You can easily find hotels and accommodation near Roman piazzas for your stay. Central areas such as Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, or Prati (north of the Vatican) are perfect for all travelers and budget levels.
Here are some of our recommendations for Rome hotels
- Condotti Boutique Hotel: Located near the famous Spanish Steps and piazza, this is a great hotel to stay in for sightseeing with access to many attractions, bars, and shopping centres. Condotti Hotel is also good value for money. Book your stay here
- Prassede Palace Hotel: This is a 4-star hotel, and is located about 15 minutes walk from the Colosseum Square. This is one of the nicest properties where we stayed in. There was a restaurant on-site, and the rooms were super clean and beautiful. Click to book your stay here
- Atlante Star Hotel: Atlante is a beautiful 4-star hotel near the Vatican city and St Peter’s Square. The hotel suites are stylish, and free breakfast is offered – perfect for your Roman vacation. Check availability here
Most beautiful piazzas in Rome | Wrapped Up
The Eternal City truly has something for everyone – and its piazzas are no exception. Whether you’re looking for a spot to marvel at some Renaissance architecture or capture stunning fountain shots, you’ll never run out of photo opportunities here.
The vibes and the pulse of the city of Rome can be felt in these beautiful squares that are filled with locals and tourists alike, and where thousands of years of historical remnants await you to discover.
From the historic Piazza Venezia to the bustling Campo de’ Fiori, you’ll find plenty of places to take pictures and experience the beauty of Roma!
So grab your camera and start exploring!
Read our Italy travel guides:
- Rome: 4 days in Rome itinerary | How to visit the Colosseum | Visit Rome and Amalfi Coast in 7 days
- Milan: One day in Milan itinerary | How many days in Milan is enough
- Amalfi Coast: Best towns on the Amalfi Coast | Amalfi Coast 4 day itinerary