On the way from the Spanish Steps to the Galleria Borghese which was our next stop, a long walk that had taken the wrong direction took us to some right places. On the negative side, we ended up walking far more than we bargained for, but, on the positive side we chanced on a few things that we enjoyed too…but now isn’t it true, that you can always see more and more, the more you explore!
In any case, from the Spanish steps, if you start walking in the direction of Villa Borghese to go to the Galleria Borghese, you will end up at fabulous Piazza del Popolo you can read about below. Enroute, there are plenty of shopping (or window shopping) options to drool over. We ended up on Via dei Condotti (Via meaning Road) that housed all the major designer brands, a la, 5th avenue of New York. Infact there were these two-three roads that led up to the big square of Piazza Del Pololo from the Spanish Steps that were a window shoppers haven – Via del Corso, Via del Babuino and Via Ripetta along with some tiny streets of Via Condotti, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona forming a major shopping area called as the Trident. The lanes of Via Condotti and Via Babuino is the place to go if you want to buy or like me just pose in front of or stare within all those expensive brand outlets!
The second place that I loved was the Piazza del Popolo which we had no intention of visiting really. But I must say the piazza was quite grand and tired as we were, the architecture and the charm the square exuded simply blew our tiredness away after a few moments of lounging around on it without taking many photos but simply taking it in.
For centuries, the Piazza del Popolo was one of the locations that led to Rome after entering the northern gate. The piazza or ‘square’ is rather an oval and the obelisk in the center was actually brought from Egypt by Augustus.
During Carnival time, visitors could see the torture or execution of condemned criminals here. I was fortunate to be reading the Count of Monte Cristo at this time that describes in detail the scenes to be seen at this Piazza and the time of the Carnival in the 19th century that even describes one such execution. I was so glad the wrong turn got me to the square mentioned in the book! I get such a thrill when a place I have been to comes up in a movie or a book!
The two churches you see in the picture below Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Monte Santo may look like twins, but they are actually different sizes and designs. Carlo Rainaldi, the designer gave one an oval dome and the other a round one to bring symmetry to adjacent streets.
To soak in the atmosphere, you can visit the popular meeting cafes of Rosati and Canova in the square
Some pictures here for you –
Next: The Galleria Borghese