Whenever you travel to Rome, aside from visiting the many monuments, museums and churches, you will definitely want to make time to experience Campo de’ Fiori. This is one of the city’s most colorful and lively piazzas, best known for its reasonably priced large open-air market. In the evenings, Campo de’ Fiori is the place to be, especially for the younger crowd, where the entire piazza becomes one big street party.
Dating back to the 19th century, the marketplace opens at 8 am daily, except Sundays. The piazza is home to stalls of local vendors who are more than happy to sell you their fresh produce, cheeses, meats, fish, flowers, and miscellaneous items, including Murano glass jewelry. Since local Romans shop here, the prices are not inflated for tourists, and the items for sale are better bargains than you might find at other markets in the city. You will also find the vendors willing to bargain with you on most miscellaneous items, especially when you are buying in quantity. The fruit and vegetable market is usually open until 1pm, and some vendors keep their stalls open longer, depending on the crowds.
As the day ends, and the vendors close their stalls and go home, the square becomes a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Surrounding the square are numerous pizzerias, gelaterias, bars and other eateries, and this atmosphere is what attracts the crowds of people to this piazza in the evenings. Street performers entertain and young people stroll through the streets drinking beer. You can linger over a delicious meal at any of the numerous outdoor restaurants, while becoming part of the scene that makes up the magic of Rome.
Campo de’ Fiori can still be a place for occasional demonstrations, reminiscent of the history of this square. The large statue of Giordano Bruno was erected in 1889 amid protests and riots, pitting the locals against the Vatican. Bruno, once a Catholic priest, was burned at the stake in 1600 for heresy, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. During the Roman Inquisition in the late 16th century and early 17th century, other public executions took place here in this square. The pedestal upon which Bruno’s statue stands, depicts scenes from his trial and execution.
Campo de’ Fiori, or Field of Flowers, derives its name from the fact, that in medieval times, this square was located in a field of flowers. Across from Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiore is located between Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II and the Tiber River, just west of the Jewish Ghetto. You will not want to miss this picturesque marketplace by day and lively street scene by night.