Piazza Dante


On hot summer evenings, Piazza Dante turns into a communal living room, packed with entire families who stroll, eat, smoke, play cards, chase balloons and whinge about the in-laws.

Dominating the eastern flank of the square is the enormous facade of the Convitto Nazionale, the pièce de résistance of Luigi Vanvitelli's spectacular 18th-century square. Dedicated to the Bourbon king Charles VII, its protagonist is now a sand-blasted marble Dante looking out over Via Toledo.

Below it all, the Dante metro station doubles as a contemporary-art space, with installations from some art-world heavyweights. As you head down on the escalator, look up and catch Joseph Kosuth's Queste cose visibili (These Visible Things) above you. Eye-squintingly huge and neon, it's an epic quotation from Dante's Il convivio. Along the wall at the bottom of the escalator you'll find artist Jannis Kounellis' renegade train tracks running over abandoned shoes. Right behind you, above the second set of escalators, sits Intermediterraneo, Michelangelo Pistoletto's giant mirror map of the Mediterranean Sea.

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