Campo de’ Fiori: all you need to know about Rome’s most beloved medieval piazza

by marta

All you need to know to visit Campo de’ Fiori, Rome. What to see, when to go and what is so special about this famous Rome piazza.

Campo de’ Fiori is one of the most atmospheric piazzas in Rome and a must-see for all types of travelers.

Located right in the city center, Campo de’ Fiori is across the road from the famous Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori is as different from its illustious neighbor as it can be but it is equally enchanting.

Piazza Campo de' Fiori Rome with the statue of Giordano Bruno no the right

Whereas Piazza Navona is grand and monumental, Campo de’ Fiori is modest and unassuming; whereas one speaks of the grand architects of the Renaissance, the other talks about the traders of Rome’s Middle Ages.

The two squares tell the story of a city that has known as many eras as the history of Europe itself and are two of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome, for many the highlight of their trip!

Including Campo de’ Fiori in your Rome itinerary is easy.

This is how I recommend to see it if you have:

This is how to get there and what you need to know about the piazza Campo de fiori.

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Where is Campo de’ Fiori and how to get there

Campo de’ Fiori is in Rome city center, on the border between the two historical ‘rioni‘ Parione and Regola, in between Piazza Venezia and the river Tiber.

Main landmarks nearby are Piazza Navona, Piazza Farnese and Largo di Torre Argentina. The closest main road is Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

You can reach campo de’ fiori by bus or on foot

By bus: several buses serve this area and they all stop on Corso Vittorio, a short 2 minute walk from the piazza. Many lines serve this road including 40, 46, 62, 64, 916.Bus 87 and 116 also stop nearby.

On foot. You can easily reach the piazza on foot from Piazza Navona (4 minutes), Largo di Torre Argentina (7 minutes 15 mins) and even Ponte Sant’Angelo, about 15 minutes down the road.

You can find our complete guide to using public transport in Rome here

The interesting history of Campo de’ Fiori

Campo de’ fiori as a space was already in use in Roman times, most likely as a dumping ground for props from nearby Theater of Pompey.

However it is only in the late 1400 and 1500s that the square took the aspect we see today. Until then, this area was just an open space and this is still echoed in the name of the piazza which in Italian translates as field of flowers!

The first church the be built in the area is nearby Santa Brigida and it is only under Pope Callistus III that the area got paved, as part of a large project to improve the area.

This started the growth of Rione Parione and, in the first decades of the XV century, this area became a busy with tradesmen and visitors serving nearby Vatican city.

Quickly, local shops, workshops opened, triggering a flourishing of related businesses to support the local traders.

This is the time when the square got its first restaurants, now a distinctive trait of the piazza.

Remains of this important trading role still exist in the names of the streets leading to the piaza. Via dei Giubbonari (corset makers), Via dei Baullari (trunk makers) all recall the professions who made this corner of Rome their own

The piazza itself became an important trading center and started hosting a bi-weekly horse markets that brought in people from all over Italy, further helping the growth of the area.

 The story of Campo de’ fiori however, is not all positive: the square was also used for public executions, the most illustrious of all being that of Giordano Bruno, whose cloaked statue still overlooks the square. The area around Campo de’ Fiori is still now one of the best shopping areas in Rome

What there is to see in Campo de’ Fiori

The square itself

The most pleasant thing about Campo de’ Fiori is the square itself. Large yet intimate, this is a lovely space with a distinctive medieval character, something many other areas of Rome lack.

The best time to see the square to appreciate its architecture is the middle of the afternoon, whe crowds are at a minimum

The statue of Giordano Bruno

In the center of the square stands the statue of philosopher Giordano Bruno, who lost his life at the stake in this very place in 1600 as a heretic.

There are uncertainties about which ideas of his were deemed so dangerous to call for a death sentence, but most likely they had to do with Giordano Bruno’s vision of the cosmos.

Unlike what stated by the doctrine at the time, he believed the universe could contain infinite worlds: this was against the dominant geocentric vision of the world and went even beyond the Copernican vision, which understood the universe as made of a series of fixed stars.

The statue is aptly somber: tall and cloaked, it emanates a quiet power that tends to attract the attention of all visitors, aware or not as they may be of the story it tells.

The best time to see Giordano Bruno is the afternoon, after the market stalls are gone and before the evening crowds take over.

Statue of Giordano Bruno in Campo de' Fiori Rome, Italy with blue sky

The market

Campo de’ Fiori is a market square and every morning still sees many stalls set up, usually from early in the morning to about lunchtime.

The market used to sell produce fruit and vegetables and for many decades a visit here counted as one the most authentic Rome experiences you could have.

However, things have changed and now ‘authentic’ has a very different meaning. While you still get some stalls with fresh produce, many now sell limoncello and goods packaged and priced for tourists.

In a way, this is ‘authentic modern Rome’ and while less atmospheric than the romantic one we may have in mind, it is as real!

Despite these recent developments, the market is worth visiting and still consideres one of the markets in Italy not to be missed. A good way to do it is as part of a food market tour such as this one: a delicious way to experience the city!

The market is open daily in the morning, Monday to Friday.

Italian artichokes on market stall

Cinema Farnese

One of the houses overlooking the square now operate as a cinema and I always recommend to stop and look at its facade if you want to experience what cinemas used to be before the arrival of the modern multi screens.

Cinema Farnese ha a crumbling, almost vintage sign that will make photographers very happy.

La terrina

Wandering around teh piazza you may notice a fountain, now used to keep flowers fresh.

The fountain is a copy of an old one now in Piazza della Chiesa Nuova but it is worth mentioning as it has an inscription that summarizes well the market soul of the square: Fa del Ben e lassa dire (= do good and let them talk’.

The name ‘la terrina’ or ‘la zuppiera’ refers to the shape of the fountain that looks like a soup bowl!

Bars and cafe

Campo de fiori is dotted with bars and cafes that fill up especially in the evening at aperitivo hours.

The square is popular with visitors of all ages: students and younger visitors tend to sit at the foot of Giordano Bruno while those who prefer a more comfortable seating arrangement sit in one of the many terraces,now offering anything from traditional Italian food to tapas and pizza.

Where to eat near Campo de’ Fiori

While I highly recommend stopping here for a drink and people watching, I do believe you can find better in terms of quality in the streets nearby: Grappolo d’oro on Piazza della Cancelleria and Roscioli are among my favorite in the area and Emma, nearby, served one of the best pizzas in Rome!

Statue of Giordano Bruno in Piazza Campo de' Fiori Rome at night

Hotels near Campo de’ Fiori

This is one of the best areas to stay in Rome for sightseeing, with some good hotels. Some worth considering are:

  • Boutique hotel Campo de’ Fiori – on the small square just beside Campo de’ Fiori, this is a boutique hotel with a stunning facade covered with climbing plants and a lovely cafe and restaurant just in front.
  • Hotel le Clarisse al Pantheon – a good address close to Campo de’ Fiori and the Pantheon, offering rooms and apartments
  • Eitch Borromini – stunning luxury hotel overlooking Piazza Navona, across the road from Campo de’ Fiori
  • Maison Giulia Boutique hotel – lovely hotel on historical Via Giulia, just a few minutes walk from Campo de’ Fiori

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of Campo de’ Fiori and you have the chance to visit. Safe Rome travels!

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