Piazza del Popolo was designed to provide a scenic entrance to Rome for the numerous travellers who arrived from the north along Via Flaminia.
The Porta del Popolo stands roughly on the same site as the ancient Porta Flaminia. The outer face was designed by Nanni di Baccio Bigio (c. 1512-68), while the inner face is the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Just inside the gate stands the church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
In the centre of the piazza is an ancient Egyptian obelisk, which once graced the spina of the Circus Maximus. The four fountains were added in 1823 by Giuseppe Valadier (1762-1839), who also designed the two hemicycles, which give the piazza its pleasing symmetry. The focal point of each hemicycle is a grand fountain and at either end stand statues of the four seasons.