In the dark ages of the past, Italian piazzas were also the places where executions took place, and Campo de’ Fiori bore witness to one of the most dreadful of these, that of Giordano Bruno, an influential philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer who was burnt alive there in 1600. Today a statue stands in the exact spot where this bloody event took place as a reminder of the cruelty of which mankind has been capable. Life carries on in daylight as well as at night, through the market stalls offering fruit and vegetables in the morning and through the bars and restaurants which welcome their patrons whole-heartedly in the evening.
The Museum of Rome is located in a wonderful 18th-century palace, Palazzo Braschi, situated in the Renaissance heart of town. With a convoluted history of dismantling, reconstruction, and repair, this building is far from being completely renovated – in fact, there are still people working on the upper floors whilst the site is open to visitors in the lower ones. If visitors are interested in finding out a bit more about local history, this building and the exhibitions it offers are the perfect choice.
Piazza di S. Pantaleo, 10, Roma, Italy, +39 06 0608
With a jaw-droppingly beautiful façade made of travertine, this church is a one-off even in a city like Rome, which abounds with religious sites and enchanting buildings. Santa Maria in Vallicella was much smaller in size at the beginning of the 16th century, but it was elaborated and extended through a series of works in the same century, until it was finally consecrated and opened as it now stands in 1599. The name comes from that of a painting, ‘Madonna della Vallicella’, dating back to the 14th century, which was hit by a rock in 1535 and allegedly started bleeding. This same painting was successively restored and is now displayed on the main altar of Santa Maria in Vallicella.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 134, Roma, Italy, +39 06 687 5289
“Lungotevere” is the Italian for “Tiber Waterfront”, and refers to any path or route running along the river Tiber. Whatever part of the city tourists are in, Rome always merits a glance from the banks of its river – even more so if they find themselves in Ponte, Parione or Regola, which are ‘rioni’ (i.e. ‘districts’) that border this famed stream of water. In the expanse of the Tiber which touches this area, there are seven different stretches which allow for seven different walks, which tourists can enjoy while soaking up the Roman sun.