Campo dei Fiori
Submitted by: John Doyle
An outdoor piazza that serves as a market for vendors by day and a gathering place for all at night.
This plaza is faced on all four sides by typical Italian ristorante with apartments above. The colorful buildings set the stage for all the action that happens here. In the center are steps on which to rest and eat a panino sandwich. Here, a statue of Bruno, who was martyred on the site, looms over the space. In the early morning you'll find local vendors wheeling in their carts to sell everything from fresh fish to clothing. The market runs all day, and at dusk, the ristorante begin to come alive. The chairs flow out into the space, giving it life into the night. I've never experienced a place like this anywhere else I've visited, such a gem in Italy!
What Makes Campo dei Fiori a Great Place?
Anyone can stumble upon it from a number of entry points as it connects to about four or six Roman city blocks. Most visitors are attracted by the smell of fresh flowers or seafood and the buzz of all the action. Cars may pass through if need be, but this is mostly a pedestrian piazza market. It's also right off the main artery of Rome's Vittorio Emmanuel. It's a unique feeling searching around the vendor tents brushing by all sorts of folks, and the old vendors give a genuine impression of the Italian culture.
I've never found a safer place in Rome - there're always lots of people around, and it's surrounded by commerce, so that keeps it safe. It's also cleaned daily after the vendors move out. Really, this place is tailored to the pedestrian as Rome was built before any kind of vehicle.
It's used for the open-air market, the ristorante, shops, for demonstrations, public gatherings, and simply hanging out to enjoy the space. Lots of young people gather here at night as well.
People here naturally mingle and introduce themselves, sometimes discussing the market, or just everyday things. I find that tourists here love to talk with the vendors and vice versa (as they like to make a euro or two.)