Piazza Colonna – Marcus Aurelius column

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Piazza colonna - Colonna di Marco Aurelio
Photo by Yuel on Unsplash

Situated between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, Piazza Colonna is adorned with the column of Marcus Aurelius in its centre. The square is also at the heart of Rome’s political life, where you can find the Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, itself next to the Piazza di Monte Citorio, seat of the Chamber of Deputies.

This column, built in 180 AD, commemorates the wars waged by Marcus Aurelius against the Sarmatians and Germans.

Like the Trajan column, from which it was strongly inspired, the bas-reliefs represent these wars in the form of real cartoons. The bas-reliefs get bigger and bigger as you climb up, so that they are always visible from the ground.

This column of Marcus Aurelius is a very interesting historical testimony that tells us about the military history of this period. Note the outfits and equipment of the Romans and the barbarians.

The column was surmounted by a statue of Marcus Aurelius, replaced by that of Saint Paul in the 16th century.

One side of the square is occupied by the Palazzo Chigi, built in the 16th and 17th centuries on the plans of Giacomo della Porta. First owned by the Aldobrandini family, it was sold to Pope Alexander VII Chigi. The Chigi family sold the palace to the Italian state in 1916, which then used it to house ministries.

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