The Piazza del Popolo is one of the most famous places, especially for foreigners, in Rome. The name in Italian means "piazza of the people", but historically it derives from the poplars (pioppo) after which the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, to the north of the square, takes its name.
The Piazza lies inside the northern gate of the Aurelian Walls, once the Porta Flaminia of Ancient Rome. This was the starting point of the Via Flaminia, the road to Ariminum (modern Rimini) and the most important route to the north. The layout of the piazza today was designed in neoclassical style between 1811 and 1822 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier, who demolished some buildings to form two semicircles, reminiscent of Bernini's plan for St. Peter's Square, replacing the original cramped trapezoidal square centred on the Via Flaminia.
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