Flower market by day, bar scene by night, Campo di Fiori offers a range of activities for its visitors. During the middle ages, this property was a field of flowers, which is where the name originated. It translates as “field of flowers.” Today, as you walk through the piazza, the aroma of the flowers fills the air and the scent continues into the nightlife scene as the area gets flooded with a younger crowd looking for a fun spot to gather.
Despite its aesthetic appeal, the history behind it is far more sinister. At the center of the piazza looms a massive statue of Giordano Bruno, the “Bruno’s Statue.” He was a philosopher who was burned at the stake in this spot in the 17th century. Bruno was executed for his radical scientific theories that conflicted with the church’s views, notably his idea that the universe is infinite and contains other solar systems.
It’s ironic that such a popular tourist destination where families go for meals and souvenir shopping holds such a dark history that few who visit are even aware of. Many take pictures of the statue and pose in front of it completely unaware of its origins, as there is no plaque depicting the story.
According to Trip Advisor, Campo di Fiori is one of the most popular piazzas and a must see in Rome, and for good reason. Not only does it offer a wide variety of activities such as extensive markets and restaurants, but is also is in walking distance of Rome’s most famous spots, such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and Piazza Navona.
The days here are characterized by street vendors selling everything from flowers and fresh produce to clothing and kitchenware. By night, the atmosphere shifts from wholesome family fun to drunken tourists searching for nightlife.
A highlight among tourists in this piazza is the “Drunken Ship,” a dive bar where the crowd is a melting pot of tourists from many different nations. It is hard to miss the American flag hanging on the wall,and the throngs of college students from the United States. When passing through the crowd, one can find students from universities across America, ranging from the University of Dayton to the University of Southern California.
While the spot is big among tourists, it is also a popular location for Romans, with many saying they would frequent the bar in high school.
The youthful clientele forces the bar to randomly check IDs at the door, the only spot most tourists witness a mention of identification.
Marykate Sullivan, a communications major at the University of Loyola Maryland, recently wrapped up her semester abroad. When speaking of Campo di Fiori, she described it as “something you must do before you leave Rome.” Similarly, Francesco Depetra, born and raised in Rome, said it is his favorite spot in the city. He said you can always find him and his friends in the piazza on the weekends (even though this was a Thursday evening.)
When asked about the large crowds, Depetra said, “This is nothing. You should see it on the weekends. I love coming here to meet other students from all over the world.”