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This plaza is magically situated at the foot of the Pincio, as part of the city's Baroque urbanistic renovation, in an effort to modernize routes frequently travelled by the upper classes. It's present layout, along with the ramps leading up to the Pincio, were designed by G. Valadier at the beginning of the 19th century. Elliptical in shape, on the lesser axis are two ornate 'essedre' (semicircles), decorated with richly sculptured fountains; and at the far end, four statues depicting the seasons. At the center of the north end is the 'Porta del Popolo' (people's gate) and its three openings, with interior designs by Bernini. The exterior was built by Nanni di Baccio Bigi, from a presumed design of Michelangelo. On the south end of the plaza, near the famous 'tridente' exit, rather, the convergence of Via del Babuino, Via del Corso, and Via di Ripetta (set back a bit from the other two), rise the two twin churches of Santa Maria de Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli; both splendid examples of Baroque architecture. The Egyptian obelisque, true focal point of the piazza, from which all points may be observed; at one time decorated the Circus Maximus, and was brought to the piazza by Pope Sixtus V.

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