Piazza Farnese

One of my favorite piazze lies behind the much more famous Campo de’ Fiori. I like to pick up something to eat at the venerable Forno Campo de’ Fiori and head to the quieter, and much more beautiful, Piazza Farnese to enjoy my snack.

Some of the buildings surrounding Piazza Farnese, with lovely, very Roman colors
The church of Santa Brigida, on Piazza Farnese

There are many things I like about this piazza, but the fountains have always been my favorite feature here. Made from gigantic, ancient Roman sarcophagi taken from the Baths of Caracalla, they are topped with a flamboyant fleur-de-lis. Not only are they beautiful, but they invite you to take a rest and enjoy the square, listening to the sound of the fountains, children playing, and people chatting as they stroll through the piazza.

A fountain in Piazza Farnese
Hanging out by the fountain – you can see how massive they are
Kids riding their bikes in the piazza

The piazza is named for one of the beautiful palazzi, which itself is named for the noble Farnese family. One of the more famous members of that family was Giulia, the beautiful mistress of Rodrigo Borgo, aka Pope Alexander VI.

Giulia Farnese, ironically pictured with a unicorn, a symbol of purity (despite the fact that, although married, she was the mistress of a Borgia Pope)

Palazzo Farnese itself is massive yet graceful, perfectly balanced, a true Renaissance palace, as you can see from the engraving at the top of this post. Michelangelo himself had a hand in designing it.

Palazzo Farnese

The palazzo has been the French embassy for many years, so the French and European flags fly from the little central balcony. France has a hundred-year lease, and pays a rent of just one euro per year.

One thing that makes me long for yesterday is the long ledge running along the palazzo’s piazza-facing wall. It was the perfect place to sit and enjoy that snack, watch the kids on their bikes, and just hang out. This was phased out recently, I assume due to security reasons. Just one of the things I miss in Rome, sitting in this sweet piazza, watching the world go by.

Back in the day, when you could sit on the ledge