Campo de’ Fiori is one of Rome's most beloved squares. During the daytime it's bustling with a daily fruit and vegetable, fish, and flowers market that takes place here every morning from Monday to Saturday. After twilight, Campo de' Fiori becomes one of the best meeting places in Rome thanks to a wide variety of restaurants, cocktail bars, and terraces.
The rectangular piazza of Campo de' Fiori is nestled between the high renaissance structures of Michelangelo to the south (Piazza Farnese) and the Baroque masterpieces of Bernini and Borromini to the north (Piazza Navona). What the Italians call La Dolce Vita ("the sweet life") can best be felt in Campo de’ Fiori around sunset. But its cool, convivial atmosphere masks a dark history. For the square was once one of the landmarks in Rome you really didn't want to end up.
In the center of Campo de' Fiori stands the statue of Giordano Bruno, a Dominican friar, philosopher and mathematicians. Bruno was burned alive here in 1600 after accusation of heresy by the Catholic Church. Immortalized in stone, dark, and intimidating, he stands as a figure of defiance, facing the Vatican since 1889.
Giordano Bruno stands as a stark reminder of the morbid history of this square. As unused, churchless space between the ancient Theater of Pompey and the often flooding Tiber, it was the scene of many public executions. No churches were built here until the 15th century, and it wasn't until this period that the square was even paved.
Surrounding Campo de’ Fiori are medieval streets lined with artisan shops radiating out in nine directions. Many of these streets take their names after the type of trade or craft practiced there. We have the Via dei Balestrari for the crossbow-makers, the Via dei Cappellari for the hat-makers, the Via dei Baullari for those who made the aristocracy's coffersm and the Via dei Giubbonari for a much continued trade - the tailors.
The Campo de' Fiori is also the site of an ancient cattle fountain known as la terrina (i.e. "soup bowl"). La terrina is filled daily with freshly cut flowers, a homage to its name and use in ancient Roman days. The fountain bares an old inscription, reading: Fa del ben e lassa dir - "Do good and let them talk". This still seems entirely appropriate, given the exchange and gossipy nature of the marketplace.
The market takes place from Monday to Saturday at 7.00 am until 2 pm No market on Sundays
Campo de' Fiori's transforms into a more relaxing atmosphere is at sunset. This is the perfect time to relax over an aperitivo in one of the nice wine-bars of the area.