The Campo de' Fiori (Field of Flowers) is the only Roman piazza to be called a campo. Nowadays, it is home to a large and bustling market, but it was once the site of something much more gruesome! Until 1798 the Campo de' Fiori was dominated by a tall gallows.
In addition to public executions, the campo was also the location for the 'tormento della corda’, a gruesome form of torture, which involved suspending someone in the air with their arms tied behind their back in order to dislocate their shoulders.
There is a reference to this mode of torture in the name of a small street, the via del Corda, which leads into the campo.
In the centre of the square looms a statue of Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), who was executed on this spot on February 17th 1600. Bruno was a Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet and cosmologist. He was also, in the eyes of the Catholic church, a heretic.
In 1593 Bruno was imprisoned on multiple charges of heresy, including the denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation. He was tried by the Roman Inquisition, found guilty and condemned to death. The statue, the work of Ettore Ferrari, was erected in 1889 as a posthumous tribute to freedom of belief.