Discovering Rome's Squares & Fountains

Free Rome Walking Tours
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Tickets: not needed
  • Accessibility: Wheelchair Accessibile
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Best time to visit: 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Itinerary Highlights

1PIAZZA DI SPAGNA

– Spanish Steps;
– Trinità dei Monti Church;
– Keats & Shelley Memorial Hous;
– Fontana della Barcaccia.

2PIAZZA MIGNANELLI

– Immaculate Conception Column;
– Spanish Embassy;
– Propaganda Fide Palace;
– Bernini’s House;

3TREVI FOUNTAIN

4VIA DEL CORSO

– Shopping;

5PIAZZA DI PIETRA

– Hadrian’s Temple Ruins;

6PIAZZA DELLA ROTONDA

– Pantheon;

7PIAZZA DELLA MINERVA

– Elephant Statue with the Obelisk;
– Church of Santa Maria Sopra la Minerva:
– Gelato Break;

8SANT’IVO ALLA SAPIENZA CHURCH

9PIAZZA SAN LUIGI DEI FRANCESI

– Church of San Luigi dei Francesi;
– Caravaggio’s frescoes;

10PIAZZA MADADA

– Palazzo Madama, Senate House;

11PIAZZA NAVONA

– Fountain of Neptune;
– Fountain of the Moor;
– Fountain of Four Rivers;
– Sant’Agnese in Agone Church;

12PIAZZA DI PASQUINO

– Pasquino Statue;

Do you Like this Itinerary?

Enjoy a free walking tour of Rome to discover the most amazing squares and fountains in the Eternal City! Starting from the heart of Rome city center, the charming Piazza di Spagna, marvel at beautiful artwork such as the Barcaccia Fountain, Trinità dei Monti Church and the Spanish Steps!
Walking through Rome cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, stumble upon Bernini’s House.
Next, marvel at the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona with the well known masterpiece “Fountain of Four Rivers”. End your free walking tour of Rome in Piazza di Pasquino where stands a bust with a really unique history!

1. SPANISH STEPS

Piazza di Spagna is almost like a stage set, a square loved and appreciated both by Romans and visitors of the city.

Against the backdrop of the magnificent travertine marble stands the Church of Trinità dei Monti, an ancient Roman Obelisk and the Spanish Steps, designed by Alessandro Specchi and Francesco de Sanctis in 1726. At the bottom of the stairs rises Fontana della Barcaccia, the boat-shaped fountain carried out in 1629 by Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s father.

As today, in past times the square was always crowded by locals, artists and travelers coming from all over the world. Some of them even decided to set their residence here, such as the English Poets John Keats and Shelley. The Keats & Shelley Memorial House is a museum open to visitors.

Facing the steps, turn right and look at the column with the Madonna Statue on top!

2. PIAZZA MIGNANELLI

The column was dedicated in 1857 to celebrate the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary and the statue on top depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since December 8th 1953 the College of Pontiffs have visited the monument annually, offering flowers to commemorate her feast.

The Propaganda Fide Palace hosts the official seat of the Congregation for the Roman Curia responsible for missionary works and related activities. The building was designed in the 1600’s by two well known architects: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who worked at the main of the palace facade overlooking Mignanelli Square, and Borromini.

The Spanish flag marks the Seat of the Spanish Embassy among the Holy See. Both the square and the steps are indeed named after the Spanish Embassy

With the embassy on your right go ahead along via de Propaganda Fide till you reach the end of the street.

The pink building on your right is Bernini’s House: even Bernini used to live in this area! His portrait and a dedicatory inscription still mark his house.

Continue along Via di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte. Pass by the seat of the Italian Democratic Party and a nice fountain. Next, turn left and take via del Nazareno. Reach Via del Tritone, a main street with many shops and cafes. Cross the street and take via della Stamperia.

3. TREVI FOUNTAIN

This is the most famous fountain in the city designed and carried out in 1732 by Niccolò Salvi, merging Classicism and Baroque styles. “Fontana di Trevi” shows a panoramic sea theme with a huge shell-shaped carriage. In the middle rises the impressive statue of Ocean by Pietro Bracci. Legend has it that if you toss a coin in the fountain over your back, you will surely return to Rome once again. Some locals also believe you have three wishes for each coin!

With the fountain on the right continue down via delle Muratte till you will cross a big busy road called Via del Corso.

4. VIA DEL CORSO

The street cuts the city in half and retraces an ancient Roman street called via Lata.
Via del Corso features elegant boutiques bearing the greatest names of the fashion industry, but also coffee bars and several locals shops.

Keep on straight down via di Pietra and reach the Piazza di Pietra.

5. PIAZZA DI PIETRA

The name of this square refers the the imposing columns of a temple dedicated to Emperor Hadrian and built in 144 a.D. In 1696 the surviving remains of the temple were incorporated into a large building designed by Carlo Fontana to house the Customs Office for Goods. Look at the balcony: you will notice that the temple stands 12 feet above the ancient street level, a technique used against the flood of the Tiber

Stroll down via dei Pastini until you reach Piazza della Rotonda.

6. PIAZZA DELLA ROTONDA

The beautiful Piazza della Rotonda is overlooked by the stunning Pantheon. The temple was built in 27 b.C.by renowned Marcus Antonius Agrippa, who was Emperor Augustus’s son in law and most trusted advisor. It was nearly completely destroyed in a fire and rebuilt by Hadrian in 118 a.D. and it is one of the best preserved ancient Roman structures. Byzantine Emperor Foca donated it to Pope Boniface IV, who transformed the monument into a Christian Church in 608 AD. The facade is shaped like a classic Roman temple with a colonnaded portico crowned by a triangular pediment. The mortal remains of King Vittorio Emanuele II and Raphael are buried inside. The real highlight of the Pantheon is fore sure the Dome with its round central opening (27 feet wide).

Take via della Minerva and reach Piazza della Minerva

7. PIAZZA DELLA MINERVA

The Church of Santa Maria sopra la Minerva from the 13th-17th century is the only Gothic Church in Rome, richly furnished with artwork such as two Bernini’s funeral monuments, Michelangelo’s statue of Christ Resurrected, the tombstone of Beato Angelico and frescoes by Filippino Lippi.

In the square there is an unusual obelisk, which rests on a base that is supported by an elephant that was designed by Bernini and sculpted by Ferrara in 1667. See Elephant and Obelisk Statue for details and facts!

Walk down via di Santa Chiara and stop in Piazza di Sant’Eustachio for a gelato or coffee break!

8. SANT’IVO ALLA SAPIENZA CHURCH

Marvel at the lovely spiralling dome developing with a corkscrew lantern at the top. This Baroque masterpiece by Francesco Borromini dates back to the middle of the 1600s. The church inside the palace houses a courtyard designed by Giacomo della Porta. In the Summer classical music concerts are held inside the palace.

Turn right, and take via della Dogana Vecchia until Piazza San Luigi dei’ Francesi.

9. PIAZZA OF SAN LUIGI DEI FRANCESI

After Rome was proclaimed capital of the new Italian State (1871), Palazzo Madama was chosen to be the seat of the new Senate.The Senate of the Kingdom seated here for the first time on 28 November 1871.
“Palazzo Madama” is named after Margaret of Austria, illegitimate daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain)
In 1536, at only 14 years of age, she was married to Alessandro de’ Medici, duke of Florence, but a year later she was already a widow. Afterwards, she married Ottavio Farnese. Margaret lived in Palazzo Madama for about 30 years, from 1538 to 1559 and then again between 1567 and 1580.

Walk down via del Salvatore until you reach a busy road called Corso Rinascimento.

10. PALAZZO MADAMA, ROME SENATE HOUSE

After Rome was proclaimed capital of the new Italian State (1871), Palazzo Madama was chosen to be the seat of the new Senate.The Senate of the Kingdom seated here for the first time on 28 November 1871.
“Palazzo Madama” is named after Margaret of Austria, illegitimate daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain)
In 1536, at only 14 years of age, she was married to Alessandro de’ Medici, duke of Florence, but a year later she was already a widow. Afterwards, she married Ottavio Farnese. Margaret lived in Palazzo Madama for about 30 years, from 1538 to 1559 and then again between 1567 and 1580.

Walk down via del Salvatore until you reach a busy road called Corso Rinascimento. Take Via Corsia Agonale until you’ll find yourself in Piazza Navona.

11. PIAZZA NAVONA

The elliptical form follows the ancient outline of Domitian’s Stadium, on which ruins Piazza Navona was built. The modern piazza was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini. Indeed Bernini designed the central axis of the square and the three beautiful fountains: The Neptune Fountain, The Fountain of the Moor and the Fountain of the Four Rivers. The latter stands in the middle of the piazza: at its center rises the obelisk discovered in Maxentius Circus on the ancient Appian Way.
At the centre on the western side, you will see the church of St. Agnes in Agone, which Innocence the X commissioned to Giacomo Rainaldi in 1652. The plan design was carried out by Francesco Borromini, who worked at the unique concave facade featuring two tall lateral towers and crowned by Michelangelo’s dome.

Reach the south end of the square and take via di Pasquino.

12. PASQUINO STATUE

The bust covered by drawings and signs, known as the Pasquino Statue, bears the name of an old Roman tailor, who was a well-know “gossip-man”.
During the 1400’s and the 1500’s people used to attaching anonymous criticisms to its base.
This is the reason why the Pasquin is known as the first “talking statues in Rome”!