This Beautiful Market Square Is Rick Steves' Favorite In All Of Rome

Rome is a huge city, and the best place to kick off a vacation in Italy. You can marvel at the Coliseum or the glorious architecture of the Pantheon. Visit museums, eat wonderful food, and wander the Roman Forum. However, travel expert Rick Steves has a favorite spot in the Eternal City that isn't any of those places. It's not even a building or a monument to the greatness of Rome. Instead, it's a square called Campo de' Fiori that hosts a daily food and flower market. On his website, he says that he uses it as his Roman meeting spot. In fact, there is a statue in the middle of this square of mathematician and philosopher Giordano Bruno who was burned alive as a heretic here in 1600 for challenging the Roman Catholic Church's thoughts on the universe and our place in it. 


"With each visit I make a quiet little pilgrimage here, staring into the eyes of brooding Bruno, pondering the courage of those earliest heretics," Steves explained. The statue faces the Vatican to show Bruno's defiance. (If you decide to look up Bruno online, be warned that the description of his death is pretty awful.) There is just something about the spirit of this place which was once a field of flowers and is now a fresh market and meeting place that caught his imagination. Here's what you need to know about Campo de' Fiori. 

All about Campo de' Fiori square in Rome

As you can see in the picture above, the Ettore Ferrari-made statue of Bruno stands defiantly, overlooking the square, staring in the direction of the Vatican. (It's a mile walk to the Apostolic Palace, just follow his gaze.) There is something very compelling about him in his hooded cloak, stepping forward in strength. Steves uses this statue as his Roman meeting spot, saying, "Ciao, Bruno" when he arrives. Oddly enough, this is the only square in all of Rome that doesn't have a church in it. Kind of fitting for Bruno, right? 


Campo de' Fiori is right in the heart of what you'll want to see in Rome, with a 5-10 minute walk to the Coliseum and the Forum, and a quick walk to Piazza Navona, Piazza Farnese, and the Pantheon. Monday through Saturday, from 8 am to 2 pm, the square becomes packed with vendors under umbrellas selling all sorts of delectable food, flowers, and drink. If you visit (it's very popular), make sure to avoid the pretty but costly tourist trap quality of many restaurants in Italy. Instead, grab some great fresh food and have yourself a snack in the square. Pick up some flowers as well to brighten up your hotel or rental while you're visiting. 

If you're meeting Roman friends there like Rick Steves, note that it's often just referred to as "the Campo" or "Vicino di Campo." This is all during the day. It's different at night. 


Campo de' Fiori at night

In the evening, the square morphs into a charming meeting place. People spend time having a drink and a meal on the terraces facing the square. Others search for great bars and restaurants, of which the square is lined, as are the streets around it. If you sit outside, make sure not to accept the seemingly free gift that might be offered to you by people wandering by.


There is a wide range of pricing here. You can find inexpensive spots like Supplizio, which serves suppli, or fried rice and mozzarella balls which is inexpensive and casual enough for kids if you've had a long day. They do serve alcohol as well as smoked potato croquettes, crema fritta (egg, brown sugar, pecorino, and cinnamon), and crispy cod, with food prices ranging from two to eight euro. If you want something fancier, visit I Sofà Restaurant and Roof Terrace. Definitely go for the terrace as it has some lovely views of the area. The food items are between 20 and 23 euros with sides for around 8. They also have a bar and snack menu. 

There are some unusual shops on the streets around the square. Just .3 miles away is the Antica Liberia Cascianelli,which is one of the oldest bookstores in Rome. In fact, it was opened in 1909. There are fascinating books, as well as prints, art, and antiques. Or visit the Antica Cartotecnica museum shop for some unique items (also .3 miles away).