Campo De' Fiori Market and Nightlife in Rome, Italy

 Stella Levantesi / TripSavvy

Campo De' Fiori, a piazza in the historic center of Rome, is one of the top squares in Rome. By day, the square is the site of the city's best known morning open-air market, which has been operating since 1869. If you're staying in a vacation apartment or looking for a food related souvenir or gift, head to Campo De' Fiori market.

In the evening, after the fruit and vegetable vendors, fishmongers, and flower sellers have packed up their stands, Campo De' Fiori becomes a nightlife hub. Numerous restaurants, wine bars, and pubs crowd around the piazza, making it an ideal meeting point for locals and tourists alike and a great place to sit for a morning coffee or evening ​apertivo and take in the action.

While it figures into the fabric of modern life, the Campo De' Fiori, like almost all spots in Rome, has a storied past. Here is where the Theater of Pompey was built in the 1st century B.C. In fact, the architecture of the some of the square’s buildings follows the curvature of the ancient theater’s foundation and remains of the theater can be seen in some restaurants and shops.

By the Middle Ages, this area of Rome had been largely abandoned and ruins of the ancient theater taken over by nature. When the area was resettled in the late 15th century, it was called the Campo De' Fiori, or “Field of Flowers,” even though it was promptly paved over to make way for lavish residences such as the nearby Palazzo dell Cancelleria, the first Renaissance palazzo in Rome, and the Palazzo Farnese, which now houses the French Embassy and sits on the quieter Piazza Farnese. If you'd like to stay in the area, we recommend Hotel Residenza in Farnese.

Bypassing the Campo De' Fiori is the Via del Pellegrino, the “Pilgrim’s Route,” where early Christian tourists could find food and shelter before traveling on to Saint Peter’s Basilica.

During the Roman Inquisition, which took place in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, public executions were carried out in Campo De' Fiori. At the center of the piazza is a solemn statue of the philosopher Giordano Bruno, which is a reminder of those dark days. The statue of a cloaked Bruno stands at the spot in the square where he was burnt alive in 1600.