This Historic Square in Rome Will Be Transformed into a Tennis Court

Piazza del Popolo as seen from the Pincian Hill
Piazza del Popolo as seen from the Pincian Hill | © silvioter/Pixabay

From fairs and carnivals to dramatic public executions, Piazza del Popolo has seen its fair share of spectacle over the years. The latest event in store for this pedestrianised square? It’s set to be transformed into an open-air tennis court as part of this year’s Italian Open.

Loved by over 40s

Organisers have announced that the neoclassical square, famous for its twin churches, Egyptian obelisk and ornate fountains, will host pre-qualifying matches of the 75th Italian Open, also known as the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

With pre-qualifiers scheduled to begin on May 5, head of the Italian Tennis Federation, Angelo Binaghi announced that games will take place from 11am until late in the evening ‘in the square that perhaps more than any other symbolizes the heart of our capital’.

‘This is the clearest example of how the new relationships we have with the city’s administration creates new opportunities and widen the horizons of the tournament,’ Binaghi continued. ‘It will bring the great champions to the other districts of the city.’

One of Rome’s main shopping streets, Via del Corso, leads onto Piazza del Popolo

As well as hosting clay-court matches, Piazza del Popolo will also offer a number of activities for children and families, and provide the opportunity for fans to collect autographs and take selfies with some of the stars of the sport.

The rest of the tournament, which takes place May 7-20, will be held at its usual location of Foro Italico. Built by Mussolini between 1928 and 1938, the complex is characterised by its bold fascist design and has hosted a number of sporting events including the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Some of the biggest names in tennis are set to play in this year’s Italian Open, including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams. Italy will be represented by homegrown talents such as Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci and Fabio Fognini.

There is no word yet whether matches in the historic square will be free to watch, or if entry will be by ticket only.

Codacons, a non-profit group in defence of consumers and the environment, has requested the plan be halted, stating that ‘squares of the historic centre do not need to be enhanced’. According to the group’s president, Carlo Rienzi, over 100 sporting clubs and associations could instead host the pre-qualifiers, drawing particular attention to those in the often overlooked outskirts of the city.

Concerns were also expressed about potential damage to the piazza, especially after a number of incidents involving tourists vandalizing monuments and bathing in the Eternal City’s historic fountains. Most recently, AS Roma owner James Palotta made a €230,000 donation to the city after celebrating his team’s unexpected Champion’s League victory over Barcelona by jumping into Piazza del Popolo’s Fontana dei Leoni.

One of the lions of the Fontana dei Leoni
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.