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Piazza della Rotonda, Rome

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#42 of 252 in Historic Sites in Rome
The Piazza della Rotonda is a piazza (city square) in Rome, Italy, on the south side of which is located the Pantheon. The square gets its name from the Pantheon's informal title as the church of Santa Maria Rotonda.HistoryAlthough the Pantheon has stood from antiquity, the area in front of it had over the centuries become choked with a maze of sheds and small shops that had grown up around its columns. These medieval accretions were cleared by order of Pope Eugenius IV (1431–39) and the piazza was laid out and paved. It took its name from the Pantheon, which had been converted in the 7th century AD into a Christian church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as Santa Maria Rotonda. The piazza is roughly rectangular, approximately 60 meters north to south and 40 meters east to west, with a fountain and obelisk in the center and the Pantheon on the south side.During the 19th century, the piazza was especially noted for its market of bird-sellers, who brought their cages with live parrots, nightingales, owls, and other birds into the piazza. A traveler in 1819 remarked that during Twelfth Night celebrations in Rome the Piazza della Rotonda was "in particular distinguished by the gay appearance of the fruit and cake-stalls, dressed with flowers and lighted with paper lanterns."Charlotte Anne Eaton, an English traveller who visited in 1820, was much less impressed with the piazza and deplored how a visitor would find himself "surrounded by all that is most revolting to the senses, distracted by incessant uproar, pestered with a crowd of clamorous beggars, and stuck fast in the congregated filth of every description that covers the slippery pavement... Nothing resembling such a hole as this could exist in England; nor is it possible that an English imagination can conceive a combination of such disgusting dirt, such filthy odours and foul puddles, such as that which fills the vegetable market in the Piazza della Rotonda at Rome." An 1879 Baedeker guidebook noted that the "busy scene" of the piazza "affords the stranger opportunities of observing the characteristics of the peasantry."
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429 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 18, 2017
    Singing the song, and to vendors and what not, sit and... Is not so large, but it was extremely crowded. Sri is to watch out for. There were a lot of stores you can shop, Pinocchio collectibles and Italy design children's goods, leather goods shops around. Slow down time, now closed, unfortunately. It was a place in surprising places.
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  • August 14, 2017
    Practically is the little square in front of the Pantheon. The square is very touristy and full of cafes for tourists.
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  • August 12, 2017
    For many, only the piazza del Pantheon. The geographical center and Rome's traffic is, it seems, Piazza Venezia; the Renaissance Center was sixteenth-century Piazza Navona, Campo de ' Fiori, Baroque and papalino Piazza Colonna; for the youth of today, in spite of the map, the fashionable square of Spain, while the "spiritual" would at least be on Capitol Hill. I have always felt that the true heart of Rome were to be located in the historic Piazza Navona and Campo de ' Fiori, but not exactly in those places, no, a little more towards progress, towards the Baroque extension. One day, arriving at piazza della Rotonda with beautiful alleys of Pigna and cute and small piazza della Minerva, I was thunderstruck. Here, in this square not large but far more of the surrounding squares, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, though fully occupied by a disproportionate, exceptional Roman remnant, and geographically close to Corso and Piazza Venezia, albeit far popular spirit, former site of the market occupied by Roman stornellatori, tourists, by people, here is the heart of Rome. Not even on purpose, there stands a small obelisk of those who now are more Romans, Egyptians. Gateway to the narrow streets of the old town and surrounded by them, strategic for any walking tour of Rome for the geographic location, this place might be called overpopulated. I call it quaint, and that touches the heart; you see quickly the Pantheon, sit back, relax and enjoy.
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Where to stay in Rome

For easy foot access to most of the city's main historical sites, consider staying in Rome's old town center. The area is conveniently placed for public transport, only a walk away from the city's main railway station. Accommodations here span all hotels sectors, from cheap hostels to luxury brand names. To avoid the steep prices and overcrowding of the town center, explore the hotels in the inner suburbs of Rome. They offer comfortable rooms and excellent food at a fraction of the price charged by the centrally located hotel chains. Another affordable option is the area around Vatican, which boasts a good selection of family-owned B&Bs.
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