Liepa Valiulytė

Piazza della Rotonda: Everything You Need to Know

A comprehensive guide to Piazza della Rotonda, delving into its history, significance, and visitor information.

Piazza della Rotonda in Rome

Historical Context

The Piazza della Rotonda is one of the most iconic squares in Rome, thanks to the presence of the ancient Pantheon, a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. But the piazza has its own history and charm, beyond the shadow of the temple. Here are some aspects of its historical context that you may not know.

The Piazza della Rotonda is still one of the most popular and visited places in Rome, where tourists and locals can admire the Pantheon and enjoy a coffee or a gelato at one of the many cafés that line the square.

Architectural Features

The Piazza della Rotonda is a charming square in Rome, Italy, that is dominated by the majestic presence of the Pantheon, one of the most ancient and impressive monuments of the city. The square gets its name from the popular name given to the Pantheon: la Rotonda, meaning "the round building".

The Pantheon is a masterpiece of engineering and architecture, built in the 2nd century AD by Emperor Hadrian as a temple dedicated to all the gods. It has a circular plan with a portico of 16 Corinthian columns supporting a triangular pediment. The most striking feature of the Pantheon is its dome, which is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. The dome has an oculus (a circular opening) at its center, which allows natural light to enter and creates a stunning effect inside the building.

The Piazza della Rotonda also has a Renaissance fountain, created around 1575 by Giacomo della Porta, who designed many fountains in Rome. The fountain has a circular basin with four dolphins and four masks that spout water. In 1711, an ancient Egyptian obelisk was added to the fountain by sculptor Filippo Barigioni. The obelisk is one of a pair that originally came from the Temple of Ra in Heliopolis. The other one is still in the Piazza della Minerva, behind the Pantheon, mounted on an elephant base.

Iconic Buildings

Besides the Pantheon, the Piazza della Rotonda has some other notable buildings that add to its charm and history. On the north side of the square, there is the Palazzo del Collegio Romano, which was built in the 17th century as a Jesuit college and later became a university. The palace has a beautiful baroque facade with statues of saints and scholars.

On the east side of the square, there is the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which was built in the 17th century by Carlo Maderno, one of the architects of St. Peter's Basilica. The church has a circular plan with a dome and a lantern, and a richly decorated interior with paintings and sculptures.

On the west side of the square, there is the Palazzo della Rotonda, which was built in the 18th century by Alessandro Specchi, who also designed the Spanish Steps. The palace has a neoclassical facade with six Ionic columns and a triangular pediment. The palace is now a hotel and a restaurant.

Tips and Recommendations

The Piazza della Rotonda is one of the most popular and lively squares in Rome, where locals and tourists mingle and enjoy the atmosphere. Here are some tips and recommendations for visiting and exploring this area:


The Piazza della Rotonda is one of the most beautiful and fascinating squares in Rome, where you can experience both ancient and modern aspects of the city. It is a place where history, art, culture, and entertainment come together in harmony. Visiting this square will surely enrich your trip to Rome and leave you with unforgettable memories.