Campo de'Fiori city square

Campo de'Fiori city square

Piazza Campo de’ Fiori or The Square of Flowers is a quite untypical city square in Rome. It is unique because there is not a single church on it. This square was a place for religious executions where even philosopher and monk Giordano Bruno was burned alive. Today, this square is a gathering place for many tourists, where there is also an open market every day. On this market you can buy typical Italian products, however since the square is so popular among the tourists, be aware that the prices are quite high.

Before 1400, the square did not exist, in its place there was only a field with flowers and this is why the square was named the Square of Flowers (fiori-flowers). In ancient Rome, this area between the Pompey theatre and the river Tiber was not used, because the river flooded often. In the 13th century, Orsini Family (one of the oldest aristocratic families in Rome that gave 34 cardinals and 2 Popes) bought a substantial number of properties in the southern part of the “Field of flowers”. Over time, this area became more and more significant, because it became an important route to Vatican and because of two important buildings (Orsini palace and Palazzo della Cancelleria – the papal office). Because of this, in 1456 Pope Callisto III decided to pave the square. Soon afterwards, this square became an important city area, where numerous handcraft workshops were opened and also a horse market was held here twice a week.

This square was known for public executions and lashing punishments, which were organized by the Catholic Church. On the 17th February in 1600 even a famous monk and philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive, accused of heresy. In 1888, in his memory a bronze monument was erected here by the sculptor Ettore Ferrari. The sculpture of Bruno is faced towards Vatican as a clear warning sign. At the begging, Ferrari wanted to sculpt Bruno with a raised hand and the index finger towards Vatican, as a clear symbol of accusation. However, the sculptor chose a more subtle design; Bruno is presented with a pensive character that is directly looking towards Vatican with a serious and deprecatory look towards the center of the papal state. On the monument, there is an inscription with the story of his path and death.
Nowadays, there is a market organized on this square every day from 08:00 to 15:00h. On the market one can find all typical Italian products: olive oil, dried tomatoes, olives, wines, all types of pasta and souvenirs. The prices are much higher than in regular shops, so pay attention.

Interesting facts

  • By the age of 15, Giordano Bruno was taken to a Dominican monastery, where he rebelled against the monks by saying: “They are trying to take me away from more important and nobler thoughts, to chain my spirit, and to turn a free man and a man dedicated to virtues into a slave of the stupid and pathetic system of deceit.
  • As a response to the denunciation from the church, Giordano also claimed that the Earth revolved around its axis and that all of the planets revolved around the Sun. Moreover, he advocated free thinking and that people should build their lives and happiness freely and independently in their own way.
  • Giordano was imprisoned in 1593 where he survived the torture till 1600, when he was burned alive on the Square of Flowers. When, before the execution, the members of the church inquisition were reading the sentence out loud, he said: “Maybe you tremble more while reading your verdict than me who is listening to it.
  • According to the legend, this square owes its name to the Pompey’s wife Fiora (Pompey was an important Roman general and politician during the reign of Julius Caesar).
  • Campo de Fiori is the only square in the city of Rome, on which there is not a single church.