One of the liveliest squares in the heart of Rome, Piazza della Rotonda is lined with bustling bars, historical cafés, and alfresco restaurant tables. The piazza was built around the Pantheon, one of the city’s most famous ancient monuments, which predates the square by about a thousand years.
Piazza della Rotonda was created in the mid-15th century when Pope Eugenius IV decided to clear the mass of market stalls and urban hovels that were spoiling the view of the Pantheon. The fanciful marble fountain was built in 1575 by Giacomo della Porta, to which a baroque Egyptian-style obelisk was added in 1711.
Private or small-group tours of Rome’s most famous landmarks generally include a stop in Piazza della Rotonda, as do themed tours highlighting classical Roman or baroque sights. In addition to this important square, skip-the-line Rome highlights tours may include the Colosseum, Vatican, and Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). You can opt for a walking tour or see the piazza by luxury van, scooter, or golf cart. For a more romantic visit, join a tour at sunset or by night, when the Pantheon is dramatically lit and the square is particularly beautiful.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The square is pedestrian only and crowded with street performers, so a nice stop for families with young children.
- If joining a tour of the historical center of Rome and Piazza della Rotonda on foot, wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- The public square is easy to navigate with a wheelchair or stroller, though the cobblestones can make crossing a bit bumpy.
- A number of Rome’s most beloved cafés and gelato shops are in or near the square, making this the perfect spot for a quick espresso or cone.
How to Get There
Piazza della Rotonda is located in the historical city center of Rome, about halfway between the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. To reach the square from the Termini train station, take one of several buses to the Argentina stop on Largo di Torre Argentina, a quick walk away.
When to Get There
Piazza della Rotonda is a lively spot to visit year-round. To get a comprehensive feel for the square, come during the day and again at night, when the Pantheon is lit. On summer evenings the space is crowded with buskers and street musicians, making it especially magical.
The square is named for Santa Maria Rotonda, the official name of the Pantheon. This remarkable building dates from 27 BC, but was entirely reconstructed by Emperor Hadrian in the early second century AD. It is almost completely intact, and the interior is illuminated by a shaft of sunlight peeping through the round oculus in the dome. The building is the resting place of Italian kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as the artist Raphael.