giovedì 30 ottobre 2008

Campo dei Fiori, a Roman market

Destination of the Roman cooking course, Campo dei Fiori is a rectangular square near Piazza Navona in Rome, on the border of rione Parione and rione Regola. Campo dei Fiori, translated literally from Italian, means "field of flowers." The name, no longer appropriate, was first given during the Middle Ages when the area was actually a meadow.

Here, on 17 February 1600, the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burnt alive by the Roman Inquisition because his ideas were deemed dangerous and all of his work was placed on the Index of Forbidden books by the Holy Office. In 1887 Ettore Ferrari dedicated a monument to him on the exact spot of his death: he stands defiantly facing the Vatican, reinterpreted in the first days of a reunited Italy as a martyr to freedom of speech.

The demolition of a block of housing in 1858 enlarged Campo dei Fiori, and since 1869 there has been a vegetable and fish market there every morning.

The ancient fountain "la Terrina" (the "soupbowl") that once watered cattle, resited in 1889, now keeps flowers fresh. Its inscription: FA DEL BEN E LASSA DIRE ("Do well and let them talk") suits the gossipy nature of the marketplace. In the afternoons, local games of football give way to set-ups for outdoor cafés. At night, Campo dei Fiori is a popular meeting place for young people, both Italian and foreign.

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