Campo de’ Fiori

Campo de’ Fiori means field of flowers or flower court in Italian.

The name comes from the middle ages when this square was a meadow and it had stuck as this area is a flower and spice market on Sundays.

campo de flori

This was a quite important square during the middle ages, being on the route between St. Peter’s and St. John the Lateran. The Vatican, which is not too far away, used to place their notices here, papal bulls and the like and this was where they used to execute people who fell in to disfavour of the church such as the man in the centre of the square.

camp de fiori

Giordano Bruno was a philosopher, mathematician and contemporary of Galileo.
He was born in 1548 in Nola, not too far from Pompeii and became a priest in his twenties. He was influenced by Copernicus who said the Earth went around the sun and proved much of it scientifically. The church knew it did but they could not publicly contravene understanding of the the Bible, even though the Bible did not claim geocentricity; some pagan philosophers did and this was accepted knowledge.

campo del fiori

Bruno believed the universe was constantly expanding and he believed there was life on other planets and was the first writer in the Middle Ages to suggest both publicly. Star Trek and Star Wars owe their concepts to him. His ideas on this and other matters got him excommunicated by the church, so he went to Geneva in Switzerland and joined the Calvinists or Presbyterians. He worked as a maths professor but was excommunicated by the Calvinists for slandering a colleague. So he got annoyed at their intransigence and left.

campo di fiori

He lived in England for a while with the Episcopalians and later moved to Germany, teaching about Aristotle in Wittenberg where Luther started the Protestant Reformation. He had to become a Lutheran to teach there and he was eventually excommunicated for his dissenting opinions. He eventually returned to Venice and gave private lessons to a noble’s son. This son denounced him to the inquisition and he was arrested and tried for heresy. Bruno was declared a heretic and handed over to authorities on February 8 1600. At his trial he listened to the verdict on his knees, then stood up and said: “Perhaps you, my judges, pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it.” He was imprisoned in Castel St. Angelo for a month and was then brought to here, his tongue in a gag, tied to a pole naked and burned at the stake, on February 17, 1600.

campo di fiori market

Over two hundred years later in 1889, the Freemasons erected this statue here in his honor.
At that time in Rome, Italy had just become a unified country and they had taken Rome from the Vatican by force so there was a lot of anti-papal feeling still left. The statue faces Vatican in defiance of them. On the panels beneath him there are pictures from his life depicting his trial and execution. Bruno had his own specific views on Christianity and cannot be claimed as Catholic or Protestant/Reformer; he was a contrarian.

Nowadays this square is one of Rome’s hot night spots for young people. It is a great square to have dinner or have a beer.

theatre of pompey

A short walk through Campo di Fiori south east on Piazza del Biscione will bring you through a dark gated passageway, Passetto del Biscione, with a statue to the Virgin Mary inside. You arrive in a small car park, Lardo del Pallaro, which keeps the curved layout and foundations of the theatre of Pompey. This is the location where Julius Caesar was murdered. Just like in Piazza Navona, medieval Rome was built upon the ancient Roman foundations.

campo dei fiori market

If you would like to take a walking or driving tour of Rome including Campo di Fiori you can send me an email via the link in the menu.

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