Lonely Planet review
Together with Piazza di Montecitorio, this stylish piazza is Rome’s political nerve centre. On its northern flank, the 16th-century Palazzo Chigi has been the official residence of Italy’s prime minister since 1961. In the centre, the 30m-high Colonna di Marco Aurelio was completed in AD 193 to honour Marcus Aurelius’ military victories.
The column's vivid reliefs depict scenes from battles against the Germanic tribes (169–173) and, further up, the Sarmatians (174–176). In 1589 Marcus was replaced on the top of the column with a bronze statue of St Paul.
South of the piazza, in Piazza di Pietra , is the Tempio di Adriano . Eleven huge Corinthian columns, now embedded in what used to be Rome’s stock exchange, are all that remain of Hadrian’s 2nd-century temple.