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Squares and Fountains
 Top 10 Features of Squares and Fountains
 

Piazza Navona
Click here to EnlargeThe elongated oval of Rome's loveliest square hints that it is built atop Domitian's ancient stadium. This is pedestrian paradise is filled with caffès, street performers and artists, milling tourists, kids playing football and splashing fountains. Bernini designed the central Fountain of Four Rivers, and added the Moor figure to the most southerly of the piazza's other two fountains, constantly altered from the 16th to 19th centuries.


Trevi Fountain
Click here to EnlargeTradition holds that if you throw coins into this 1732 Nicola Salvi fountain, you ensure return to Rome. Ingeniusly grafted on to the back of a palazzo (even the windowsills mutate into rough rocks), the Trevi marks the end of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct, built by Agrippa in 19 BC from a spring miracolously discovered by a virgin.


Campo de' Fiori
Click to enlargeThis " field of flowers" bursts with colour during the morning market, and again after dark when its pubs and bars make it centre of Roman nightlife. The dour hooded statue overlooking all is honur of Giordano Bruno, a theologian who was burned at the stake here for his progressive heresies in 1600 during the counter - Reformation.


Piazza del Popolo
Cleck to enlargeArchitect Giuseppe Valadier expanded this site of festivals and public excutions into an elegant piazza in 1811 - 23, adding four Egyptian-style lion fountains to the base of one of Rome's oldest obelisks. The 1200 BC Ramases ll monolith was moved to the Circus Maximas by Augustus then placed here by Pope Sixtus V.


Piazza San Pietro
Cleck to enlargeBernini's garagantuan colonnade, 196 m (640 ft) across, embraces the hordes of worshippers and tourists arriving at St Peter's Its perfect ellipse is confirmed by the optical illusion of disappearing columns afforded by standing at one of the focus points - marble discs set between the central 1st-century BC obelisk, carved in Egypt for a Roman Prefect, and either fountain: Bernini's on the left, Domenico Fontana's on the right.


Fontana delle Tartarughe
Cleck to enlargeGiocomo della Porta designed this delightful fountain between 1581 and 1584. The turtles (tartarughe) struggling up over the lip, how-ever, were added in 1658, parhapes by Bernini.



Piazza Barberini
Cleck to enlargeThis busy piazza is cantred on Bernini's Triton - Fountain, (1642-3), the merman spouting water from a conch shell. It was commissioned by Pope Urban Vlll and features his family symbol (bees) on its base.


Piazza Venezia
Cleck to enlargeThe de facto centre of Rome and convarg of traffic patterns, during evening rush hour conducted with balletic brio by a white-gloved policeman. The piazza is flanked by the Palazzo Venezia, from whose balcony Mussolini once exhorted hordes to the joys Fascism.


Fountain of the Naiads
Cleck to enlargeThe water spouting from Bernini's Triton is puny compared to the gushes rising from Glaucus in this huge fountain and traffic circle. The fountain is surrounded by naiads and horses in this 1888 confection by Mario Rutelli (Grand father of Francesco, the city's mayor from 1993 to 2001).


Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
Cleck to enlargeA perfect neighbourhood square: cafès, shops, a fine restuarant, and a 17th-century palazzo abutting a medieval church, its mosaics romantically floodlit at night. A fountain fitted with shells by Carlo Fontana (1682) atop a pedestal of staires serves as benches for backpackers to strum guitars and touriste to eat ice cream.