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Touring Rome can make you hungry, so you may want to head towards the wide selection of Italy restaurants at the historic Campo de Fiori, the city’s most famous outdoor food and market plaza. Within walking distance from the Piazza Navona, it serves in modern days as a lively meeting place for both locals and tourists, especially at night. Its translation loosely means field of flowers, likely due to the fact that for a long time it remained underdeveloped and in the Middle Ages was nothing more than a meadow. To this day, Campo de Fiori remains architecturally under-formalized and instead serves as a commercial venue and is known for its morning market and vibrant street culture. Meet here for a glass of wine at one of the many bars that come to life in the afternoons, as you make dinner plans for some of the finer Italy restaurants found just in the area.
Campo de Fiori Rome in ancient times was an unused space between the Tiber river and Pompey’s Theatre, which was built around 55 B.C. and was once the world’s largest theater. The Roman Senate would sometimes meet hear. In 44 B.C. it was during one of these meetings that Julius Caesar was killed, marking one of the most significant dates in Italy’s history.
In the 13th Century one of Italy’s most princely families, the Orsini, established themselves on the southern edge of the Campo de Fiori when the site was still not yet developed. Finally, in 1456, under Pope Callixtus III, Ludovico Cardinal Trevisani would pave the square in an attempt to renew the site for further edifices, such as the Orsini Palace and the Renaissance Palazzo della Cancelleria which was an impressive structure built between 1489-1513.
Importance in location would bring prosperity to the Campo de Fiori Rome, in that it was an important crossway between the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and the Vatican. Lodging in the way of inns and hotels would emerge as the square became a primary center of horse trading twice a week. A more macabre aspect to the ancient square was its holding of public executions. The main statue on Campo de Fiori is that of the philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was burned alive by the Roman Inquisition on February 17th, 1600 for his ideas that were judged as threatening by the tribunal.
Block housing, which began construction in the 1850's, enlarged the Campo de Fiori Rome and the horse and cattle market has been replaced by a vegetable and flower market held every morning since 1869. A reputation for gossip is reflected in a saying etched on La Terrina, the squares ancient fountain, which reads “Fa Del Ben E Lassa Dire”. This loosely translates to “Engage in good deeds and let them talk” and is no doubt to this day of wise advice.
In the afternoons at the Campo de Fiori, morning markets finish cleaning up and impromptu soccer matches and street shows fizzle out, giving way to the abounding food options. Ranging from pizzerias, to convenient cafes and bars, to the more formal sit-down establishments, all styles of Italy restaurants can be found at Campo de Fiori. Here, a cappuccino at one of the cafes before dinner will re-energize your soul and leave you wondering when you get back home how they make them so good. You will also feel quite Italian as you share in the joy of sipping this hot, frothy delight while gazing on the picturesque surroundings as day gives way to evening and the atmosphere picks up. It’s a bit more sophisticated than your normal coffee routine.
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