The Piazza Barberini is a large public square on the Quirinal Hill in the city center of Rome. It was constructed in the 16th century but it was only in 1625 that it was named after the Palazzo Barberini which faces it. Several of the city’s most important streets (Via Veneto, Via Barberini, Via del Tritone, Via Sistina) converge in this beautiful square.
Piazza Barberini Rome
History and description
The Piazza Barberini is located in the spot where the Roman Circus of Flora used to be. Here, in the month of May, the flower games were held to celebrate the beginning of spring.
Already in the first years of the empire this valley was inhabited. In the 16th century several villas and gardens were constructed in the area. In 1585 Pope Sixtus V had the Via Felice constructed. This street led from the Trinità de Monti Church to the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme Basilica. Later, in 1870, it was split up in several fractions, including the Via Sistina and the Via delle Quattro Fontane. When the Via Veneto and the Via Regina Elena (now the Via Barberini) were constructed the Piazza Barberini became one of the main squares of the city.
The piazza used to have a completely different outlook. There used to be a gateway into the Palazzo Barberini, which was destroyed in the 19th century in order to facilitate the construction of a road. Most of the buildings around the square were reconstructed at some point or other.
Until the 18th century the Piazza Barberini could be a quite macabre spot, since unidentified corpses were brought here to be transported to various central points of the city to see if anybody would recognize them.
The Piazza Barberini nowadays houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica). The entrance to this museum is not in the square, however, but in the Via Barberini.
The main attraction is the Fontana del Tritone in the middle of the square. It was constructed between 1632 and 1637 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
There used to be another fountain at the spot where the piazza meets the Via Sistina, but this one was later moved to the Via Vittorio Veneto. Like the Triton Fountain the Fontana delle Api (Fountain of the Bees) was created by Bernini. The bee, by the way, is the symbol of the Barberini family.
There also used to be an obelisk, now known as the Aurelian Obelisk, in the Piazza Barberini, but this was moved to the Villa Medici in 1822.
Address and public transport
The Piazza Barberini is located in the rione Trevi. Metro: Barberini (line A). Bus stop: Tritone/Barberini (lines 52, 53, 62, 63, 83, 85, 160, 492, C3, N4, N5, N12, N25).