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Piazza del Popolo, Rome

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Open Hours: Open 24 hours
During the Middle Ages, Piazza del Popolo formed the main entrance to the city for pilgrims and travelers arriving on the Via Flaminia (from the north). It was only when Pope Sixtus V placed the Egyptian obelisk of Ramses II in the center of the square that Piazza del Popolo took on its current function. The obelisk is the tip of the trident formed by the three streets that begin in the square: Via del Corso , Via di Ripetta and Via del Babuino . Valadier was the architect who gave the square its present elliptical appearance by building the two ramps that lead to the Pincio . Two shell-shaped fountains overlooked by groups of statues stand in two hemicycles. Valadier was also responsible for the buildings on Via del Babuino and Via di Ripetta that are today occupied by the famous cafes Rosati and Canova.