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Piazza della Rotonda, Rome

(4.6/5 based on 360+ reviews on the web)
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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  • One of the most famous squares and convenient areas of Rome. Opens the Pantheon, the famous round temple dedicated to Augustus and rebuilt by Hadrian, the Center stands the Renaissance fountain by Giacomo Della Porta and is surrounded by beautiful buildings. Is teeming with life until late in the evening thanks to the many bars and restaurants that surround it.
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  • This piazza is a smaller area with a fountain built in front of the Pantheon. There are a lot of places where you can just sit outside and eat lunch as we did before venturing on. 
  • great for al fresco dinner especially when it's warmer... very lively and fun but not crazy. Had several great meals here.