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St. Louis, Missouri
June 28, 2005
During the day, Campo de' Fiori is an open-air market where you can buy food, flowers, and a variety of crafts (the jewelry can be especially nice). Cafés circle the square, and you can usually hear at least one set of street musicians.
If you go to one of the restaurants for dinner, however, you can see the piazza evolve from its daytime market function to the nighttime bar scene. Most of the bars have a steady clientele of American college students, with a healthy dose of Italians who go there expressly to meet American college students.
If you're not into the actual partying, however, there are also some gelaterias and coffee shops where you can instead sit and watch the craziness. And don't let the drunk college kids keep you away - to really appreciate just how spooky Giordano can be, you should see him at night.
From journal A Study Abroad Semester in Rome
June 17, 2004
Usually, people make a meeting point of the statue that’s in the middle of the square. The bent and cloaked head of Giordano Bruno, Dominican priest, philosopher, mathematician and scientist, who dared contradict the Church about the infinity of the universe (Galileo was more lucky, he publicly renounced his theory under the pressure while still believing it). He is represented with his hands tied up, ready to be taken to stake where he would be burned alive by order of the Inquisition. It is a reminder of darker times, but also of courage in the face of adversity and the power of Enlightenment.
From journal La dolce vita a Roma.
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
March 30, 2003
Palazzo Farnese is one of the amazing buildings in Rome. It has a very imposing light-colored façade and its design has become the prototype for a lot of palaces built in Rome afterwards. A lot of famous artists worked on the building, including Michelangelo, who added the third floor and had plans to connect this palace with Villa Farnesina in Trastevere by a bridge, but that was never realized. It has been the French Embassy for over 350 years. Unfortunately, you are not allowed inside, but in front of the embassy you can see pictures of the restoration efforts taking place inside. They show the original frescoes and how the restoration effort uncovers the original colors that sometimes are so bright that nobody expects that (very much like Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel).
Campo de’ Fiori is a great place to stop for lunch (it is cheaper here), to practice your Italian and bargaining skills, and to do some people-watching while you are at it.
From journal Italy in May - Rome, Part IV
December 4, 2002
Or you can sod all that and come here to play at night because this place gets much more crazy at night, especially on weekends. If you miss your fellow countrymen don’t worry, they’ll all be here. Just come and get’em.
If you need some liquid help to pass those hours away, Vineria is the bohemian place to been seen smooching and networking. A bit of Trastevere on the wrong side of the river, with some great wine (try the brachetto) and a hip atmosphere. One of those places on earth that has a not too great staff, gets very crowded, and has more than its fair share of Italian prima donnas, but you still have a great time when you go. Secret of success I suppose.
Oh, and watch the pigeons.
From journal Rome beyond the Ruins
Santa Monica, California
August 22, 2000
From journal Rome by Foot