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Church of Santa Maria del Popolo

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Church of Santa Maria del Popolo: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Half-Day Angels and Demons Semi-Private Tour

1. Rome: Half-Day Angels and Demons Semi-Private Tour

Explore Rome following the trail of Robert Langdon in Dan Brown's best-selling novel, Angels and Demons. The 3.5-hour tour begins at Pantheon, where Robert Langdon, the protagonist of Dan Brown's best-selling novel, arrives having misunderstood a clue. His intended destination was the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, and that is the tour's second stop. The church is noted for the Chigi Chapel, where Langdon found the first dead cardinal, branded with the word earth on his chest. Your next stop will be St. Peter's Basilica, the center of Christianity. In the middle of St. Peter’s Square you’ll find an obelisk surrounded by a wind compass rose. On the west ponente oval tile the protagonist found another dead cardinal, branded with the word air. After this, Langdon enters the Vatican’s secret archives to look for information about the Illuminati. From the Vatican you’ll head to the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, where you’ll see Bernini's sculpture, Estasi di Santa Teresa. It was here that Langdon found the third dead cardinal, who was branded with the word fire. Your guide will take you through the most important places in the ancient city center, including Repubblica Square, and Navona Square, where you’ll see Bernini's stunning Fountain of the 4 Rivers and the obelisk. According to the book, Langdon finds the last dead cardinal here, branded with the word water. From Navona Square you’ll head to the last stop, Castel Sant’Angelo, a gathering place of the Illuminati, and hear about the passetto, a hidden passage that leads to Vatican City. This shortcut was used by past popes as a way to escape, and in the book it is used as a hideout for the assassin.

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Rome: Fountains and Piazzas Walking Tour

2. Rome: Fountains and Piazzas Walking Tour

Join an expert guide on an enchanting journey through the historic cobbled streets of the Eternal City. Hear tales of history and intrigue from throughout the centuries. First, explore the Trevi Fountain and the beautiful Spanish Steps. Learn about the history of these stunning monuments and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the area. Then, head to the Pantheon, the best-preserved building of Ancient Rome. Marvel at the scale of the building and the giant columns, and look through the famous oculus of the dome. Learn about the incredible history of this monument that spans nearly 2,000 years. End your tour at Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most splendid squares, home to Bernini’s renowned Fountain of the Four Rivers.

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Rome: Caravaggio Artwork Walking Tour

3. Rome: Caravaggio Artwork Walking Tour

Discover more about the life of the famed Michelangelo Merisi of Caravaggio, also known simply as Caravaggio. Learn about an innovator in the history of painting and his eccentric lifestyle. Visit various sites in the center of Rome where you can admire his work and hear stories about his life from an expert guide. Start at the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi which contains three masterpieces by Caravaggio. Inside, discover the Cappella Contarelli which houses paintings of Saint Matthew the Evangelist. Continue with a stop inside the Church of Sant'Agostino to see the "Madonna dei Pellegrini." Finally, visit the Cappella Cerasi in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, where you will find the masterpieces "Conversione di San Paolo" and "La Crocifissione di San Pietro." Throughout the tour explore the streets and see buildings that are linked to the life of Caravaggio, including Via della Scrofa, Palazzo Firenze, Via della Lupa, Vicolo del Divino Amore, Via della Pallacorda, and Palazzo Borghese.

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Rome: 3-Hour Baroque Walking Tour

4. Rome: 3-Hour Baroque Walking Tour

Starting from Piazza del Popolo, an enormous square with the city’s second obelisk in the center, which was brought to Rome by Augustus and re-erected here by the architect Domenico Fontana under Sixtus V (1589). In the square, the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Popolo is one of the most interesting in Rome, rich in works of arts and masterpieces of Raphael and Caravaggio. Arrive at the Spanish Steps and Spanish Square with the charming monumental flight of steps (1772), whose sinuous line harmoniously follows the slope of the hill. At its feet is the graceful fountain La Barcaccia by Pietro Bernini. At the top of the Spanish Steps is the Church of Trinità dei Monti with the two cupolas, and in front of its façade is an obelisk, which was taken from the Sallustian Gardens in 1789. Then, go to the Trevi Fountain, the most spectacular fountain in Rome. It was built by two Popes starting in 1730, with the legend that whoever throws a coin in will assure his return to Rome. The large fountain is located along a side of Poli Palace, decorated with statues and bas-reliefs on heaps of rocks and the water gushes from every part. Almost halfway up Via del Corso, the principal Roman street, is the Piazza Colonna with the column of Marcus Aurelius. On the square, you'll find Chigi Palace, the minister’s office. On the opposite side of Via del Corso is the Colonna Gallery. Montecitorio Palace at the square close by with the same name, is the headquartes of the Chamber of Deputies. The Pantheon, the best preserved monument of Ancient Rome and one of the most beautiful, is located in the picturesque Piazza della Rotonda with the wonderful fountain designed by Giacomo Della Porta, surmounted by the little obelisk Ramses II. The Baroque Rome Tour ends at Piazza Navona. Built on the site of the stadium of Domitian (84 AD) used for athletic competitions, in the middle of 17th Century under the pontificate of Innocent X Pamphilj (1644-1655) became the most beautiful square in Rome with the amazing Fountain of the Four Rivers built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who designed it as a base for an  Egyptian Obelisk, with the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and the Pamphilj Palace built by Girolamo Rainaldi and Francesco Borromini.

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Piazzas of Rome Small Group Sunset Tour

5. Piazzas of Rome Small Group Sunset Tour

Enjoy a romantic walking tour of Rome at dusk, and see the sunset over the “Eternal City’s” beautiful squares. Meet your guide in Piazza del Popolo, formerly used for popular games and public executions, and now a lively space for concerts. Learn about the vision of its architect, Giuseppe Valadier. Continue to Pincio Terrace to see the sunset over the rooftops of Rome. Marvel at the broad sweep of the Spanish Steps and Barcaccia’s fountain to a half-sunken ship. Next, go to the Trevi Fountain on Piazza di Trevi, and throw a coin in the pool according to tradition. See the historic Pantheon on Piazza della Rotonda, built in 27 BC as a temple to all the gods of Rome. Wander over to Piazza Navona, built on the site of a Roman amphitheater. Experience “La Dolce Vita” of Rome around Bernini’s magnificent Four Rivers Fountain in its center. End on Campo de' Fiori, dominated by the statue to the poet and philosopher, Bruno Giordano. Learn about his trial for heresy, and how he was burned at the stake at the medieval marketplace in the 16th century.

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Rome: Caravaggio and Baroque Art Private Guided Tour

6. Rome: Caravaggio and Baroque Art Private Guided Tour

This 3-hour private tour of Caravaggio’s art and Rome’s Baroque masterpieces is the perfect opportunity for a close-up look at the artist’s work. Michelangelo Merisi, alias Caravaggio, one of the greatest painters of all time, spent the majority of his life in Rome. The tour begins at Piazza del Popolo and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, where you’ll see The Crucifixion of St. Peter and The Conversion of St. Paul. Then you’ll pass near 2 of Caravaggio’s residences, Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Senate, and Giustiniani Palace, which now houses the offices of the Senate. Your guide will tell you about unusual events in Caravaggio’s life and also provide commentary on the architecture or current functions of the main Italian government houses such as Montecitorio Palace. See the major masterpieces of Caravaggio, including The Life of St. Matthew in St. Louis of France’s Contarelli Chapel, and The Madonna of the Pilgrims in St. Augustine. Admire Baroque architectural masterpieces, including the Church of St. Ignatius. Pass by the Pantheon and hear about its history from your guide. Your tour ends in Piazza Navona, where you’ll be able to admire one of the Bernini’s masterpieces, the Fountain of the 4 Rivers, and Borromini’s façade of St. Agnes in Agony. Hear stories of these rival artists, and about the tragic end of Caravaggio’s life in Rome.

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Rome: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps & Pantheon

7. Rome: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps & Pantheon

Rome’s famous squares, monuments, fountains and artists offer you the very best attractions on this 2.5-hour afternoon walking tour. Let the Eternal City enchant you as you stroll through its picturesque cobblestone alleyways, and discover some of the world’s most famous sites, such as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Travel back in time and admire all of the city’s must-see art and architecture, in a single afternoon! Begin in Piazza del Popolo, the traditional northern “door to Rome,” with the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo as the first church that visitors to Rome would see upon entering its gates. The Spanish Steps, with its lively atmosphere and stunning views, bring you down into the winding alleys of the heart of the historic center, where you will encounter the ornate Trevi Fountain. Throw a coin in the fountain and promise to return! Continue with a stop at Piazza Colonna and see the column erected by Marcus Aurelius that is now considered by Romans as the very center of the city. We will also stop at the Pantheon to explore its impressive concrete dome and open oculus. Nearby, visit Piazza Navona to get a close-up view of Bernini’s famous “Fountain of the Four Rivers,” triumphantly marking its ornate center. Finally, you will go to Piazza Navona for a taste of one of the liveliest and most famous piazzas in Rome.

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Caravaggio in Rome Tour

8. Caravaggio in Rome Tour

Stroll through the district of Rome where Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio lived and worked. Discover the stories, anecdotes and the outstanding technical skills that have kept his name known across the world for over 400 years.  Born in Milan in 1571, Caravaggio was in Rome by the end of the 1580's. Admire some of the most beautiful masterpieces in the original churches for which they were commissioned. See in Santa Maria del Popolo: Saint Paul's Conversion and the Crucifixion of Saint Peter. See in Sant'Agostino, The Madonna of Pilgrims. Finishing up in San Luigi dei Francesi, one of the few French churches in Rome, to admire the three paintings which represent the stories of Saint Mathwe. These were the first altarpieces ever painted by Caravaggio.

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Rome: Caravaggio Walking Tour and Bus Excursion to Lazio

9. Rome: Caravaggio Walking Tour and Bus Excursion to Lazio

Enjoy a guided walking tour through the district of Rome where Caravaggio created some of his most noteworthy works. Visit three churches in the historic center, then travel by bus to Ladispoli, his last residence before he died from wounds sustained during a bloody duel. Start your tour with the trio of churches, Santa Maria del Popolo, Sant'Agostino, and San Luigi de' Francesi. Explore the entrancing narrow alleys of Rome as you wend your way through the historic city center. After the guided walking tour, make your way to the town of Ladispoli aboard a comfortable GT bus and experience the northern coast of Lazio. Get to know an internationally renowned destination of natural beauty located just 30 km from the capital. Walk across the therapeutic black sands, where numerous Roman nobles spent their time. Explore the place where Maestro Caravaggio was arrested. See where he made a daring escape by sea after a bloody duel, taking refuge at the Odescalchi Castle in Palo Laziale. Listen as your guide explains how Ladispoli today represents an important meeting point for artists and lovers of Caravaggio's art. Before your tour concludes, see the waterfront bronze statue of Caravaggio by the artist Sergio Bonafaccia.

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Roman Heresy on the Trail of Angels and Demons Driving Tour

10. Roman Heresy on the Trail of Angels and Demons Driving Tour

Retrace the path of the Illuminati between freemasonry and occultism. Listen to stories out of the ordinary and challenge conventions. Visit the four places where the cardinals were killed. One of the biggest risks locals run immersing themselves into the wonders of Rome every day, is to take such beauties for granted. At that moment we are pushed to provide new inputs to our curiosity, and it is precisely this attitude that prompted us to invite you on this new journey... Are you ready to leave the main road, to put into crisis your most solid certainties, to explore fields of knowledge intentionally set aside because uncomfortable, to bare the weaknesses of what we believe in the search for a new level of awareness? In order to do this we will instruct a trial, putting in the dock the most influential figures of the 17th century, one for all the Pope Urban VIII, because they would be stained with a terrible crime. Although they are the most glaring expression of the established order, they would be guilty of the crime they most pursued, heresy. In this curious performance our tour guides will be playing their usual role as narrators and you won't be just witnesses, you will be the jury!

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What people are saying about Church of Santa Maria del Popolo

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 612 reviews

Anestis was an excellent guide through the streets and landmarks of Rome and the Vatican. Like all great tour guides, his attention to detail and intricate knowledge of the city's history, lore and legends was evident throughout. Whether you've read Angels and Demons or not, this is worthy every dollar you spend. Also good to know - this is a long walking tour, so get your walking shoes on and carry water/refreshments with you.

Anestis is an absolutely AMAZING man. I’m not just “saying it” HE IS. So informative and fun. Walked a lot and saw so many places he talks about the book and the movie. He is an absolute pleasure to be with. I even felt sad to leave him. % recommend.

Damiano was a really entertaining tour guide and knew a lot. Also very nice to be able to talk about football with him!

We had a terrific tour. Agnesthes (I hope this is spelled correctly) was phenomenal !! Always my pleasure!!!

Super knowledgeable friendly guide a great experience highly recommend this tour you won't be disappointed