The Piazza del Popolo is one of Rome’s many large public squares. This piazza is in the northern part of central Rome. The architect of the present-day piazza, built in the early 19th century, removed some existing structures to alter the shape from a trapezoid to a larger circular shape. While the piazza used to be a thoroughfare for cars, it is now a pedestrian-only zone.
The center of the Piazza del Popolo is marked by an Ancient Egyptian obelisk, and on one side of the piazza are two matching churches - Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto - one on each side of one of the streets leading from the piazza. The two churches are not exact copies of one another, but their features are so similar that they provide a symmetrical anchor to that end of the piazza.
A third church on the Piazza del Popolo is also dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is one of the main tourist draws on the piazza. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is a 15th century church that is home to several works of art by masters - Raphael, Bernini, and Caravaggio among them.