Day 4 - afternoon
Looking down the Via del Corso Street from where I stood at the Piazza del Popolo square, I could easily see in the far far distance the Piazza Venezia square where the big white marble building or monument of Victor Emmanuel stood. I just couldn't believe that this street which could have easily taken us half an hour to walk from A to B, actually took us a good hour and a half just to arrive here! Of course, this being due to all of these runners and detours we had to take!
At the Piazza del Popolo square, two huge fountains stood on each corner of it. On one side, the Fontana del Obelisco and on the other side, the Fontana del Nettuno! And yes, you guessed right; I took many pictures of myself standing right next to them! Ha, ha, ha!
In the center of this Piazza del Popolo square stood a magnificent Egyptian obelisk of Ramesses II from Heliopolis! This certainly brought back memories of when I toured Egypt in 2010. Yes, good old memories!
Anyway, this masterpiece known to be the second oldest as well as one of the tallest obelisks in Rome, was quite impressive in its very own way. It was brought here in 10 BC, yes that long ago, by order of Augustus and originally set up in the Circus Maximus. Remember, this was the place where they had chariots races which I visited yesterday. Anyway, this obelisk was re-erected here in the piazza in 1589 as part of the urban plan. Interesting facts!
I was happy to be here and to be part of the scenery which had so much history associated to it. Well you should know that this was until I found out that for centuries, the Piazza del Popolo was the place for public executions, the last one having taken place in 1826. Hmmmmm! After reading these facts, ask me again how happy I was! Regardless, it kind of made me wonder how actually life was back then!
Close by, the Santa Maria del Popolo church stood in the northeast corner of the piazza. The church was reconstructed in the 15th
century and its fašade modified in the 17th
century. All of these over an original chapel built in the 11th
century. Well, all I can say from reading a sign next to the church was that it included works of several famous artists, architects and sculptors in the likes of Raphael, Bernini just to name a few. Interesting facts! We did go inside but just for a few minutes! Some people were there praying. But at least I can say I WAS HERE kind of thing!
This piazza lay inside the northern gate called de Porta del Popolo being the starting point of the most important route to the north way up to Cairo in Egypt. It was the travelers’ first view of Rome in ancient times upon arrival.
Since I was here at the Piazza del Popolo, the least I could do was walk beneath this important Porta del Popolo and stand from across the street from it. Once I did that, I went back telling myself that I had walked way up to the northern section of Ancient Rome and viewed it from there on.
Moving on, it was now time to head back. Glancing at Michel’s map, there were many other interesting sites to see and these, all situated on the east side of the Via del Corso Street, Without any hesitations, that’s exactly where we headed to by walking towards these narrow cobblestone streets while anxiously awaiting our next discoveries as we tried to get lost in this ancient section of Rome!Monique :-)