Piazza del Popolo is a large square in Rome that is next to our house. The name in Italian means “People’s Square”, but really the name comes from the big church in the square. The church is Santa Maria del Popolo and it is in the northeast corner of the piazza. I like to play in the piazza a lot and really like the fountain that is in the center, so I wrote about if for a project at school. Our unit now is about water.

The piazza is just inside the north gate of the Aurelian Wall. But now it is called the Porta del Popolo. For a lot of people in the past, this was their first view of Rome as they entered the city.

There is an obelisk in the center of the piazza that is called the obelisco Flaminio (but sometimes people call it the Popolo Obelisk, so it is kind of confusing to know what to call it).  I like it because it is the second oldest and one of the tallest obelisks in Rome. The obelisk was brought to Rome in 10 BC by Augustus and what is really cool is that it used to be in the center of the Circo Massimo (or Circus Maximus) where the chariot races were. It was moved to our piazza in 1589 because Pope Sixtus V thought that if he put cool stuff here, then people would want to live in this neighborhood.

The Fountain that I like is called the Fontana dell’ Obelisco and it is right in the center of the piazza. There are also two other fountains in the piazza. The fountain that is there now is not the original. The original one was ordered by Pope Gregory XIII and built by Giacomo della Porta. But Pope Leo XII thought that the fountain was too small to be in the Piazza del Popolo. So he ordered Giuseppe Valadier to redesign a new, bigger fountain.

This is me sitting on the lion!

The fountain that Valadier made is really big. It has four marble lions around the obelisk. Me and Nell climb up on top of the lions, and the lions have water spurting out of their mouths that you can touch if you reach over the lion’s heads! I get up on top by climbing on the steps and crawling up the back of the lions. I think that technically you are not supposed to do it. But police are there all day long and they always let kids climb on the lions. The fountain doesn’t really do anything. It is just used for decoration, but it attracts a lot of tourists to Piazza del Popolo.

If anyone visits I will take you there.

— Eli

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