Piazza del Popolo is located at the end of Via del Corso, the straight road that runs through the center of Rome from Piazza Venezia at the base of Capitoline Hill, and stands at the northern gate of the Aurelian Walls (the walls that surrounded ancient Rome).
The history of the piazza stretches across several centuries, but the design of the current piazza dates back to the early 19th century.
In the very center of Piazza del Popolo is an Egyptian Obelisk of Sety I and Ramsese II, known as the Obelisco Flaminio, that was brought to Rome in 10BC. It is one of the largest and oldest obelisks in Rome. Originally, it stood in the Circus Maximus, but ended up in Piazza del Popolo by the late 16th century.
Surrounding the obelisk are four small 19th century fountains.
Two larger fountains stand on each side of the piazza, both built in the 1820’s. Both have some beautiful sculpture artwork, the Fontana del Nettuno depicting a scene with Neptune and two dolphins, and the other to the Goddess Roma, that leads up to the Pincio where you can get great views of the piazza.
Surrounding the Piazza are three churches, one being the Santa Maria del Popolo. But perhaps the most beautiful feature of the piazza are the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, both built in the late 17th century and standing on either side of the start of Via del Corso.
Outside of the piazza on the other side of the Porta del Popolo (the gate in the walls), there is a metro stop and you can easily catch the subway train to anywhere in the city.
We visited Piazza del Popolo in the morning before catching the metro straight to the Vatican City. There are some nice cafes located around the piazza, and this beautiful square can be enjoyed while sitting with a cappuccino or a glass of wine.