The Campo de’ Fiori is a lovely little square in the oldest part of Rome. A lively market for fruits, vegetables, flowers and more still flourishes there every day, just a couple of steps from the spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death. At night it’s filled with diners, strollers, and tourists soaking in the beauty and atmosphere, and exploring the boutiques and restaurants on the adjacent side streets.
Click anywhere on the picture below to see a live cam of what’s going on there right now.
A couple of days ago, there was a small crowd gathered on this spot and a few speeches were given to remember what happened there on February 17, 1600. On that day, Giordano Bruno was led to the square on a mule, stripped naked, had his tongue bound, and was burned alive.
That’s a statue of Bruno, erected in 1889, in the center of the picture.
What crime had he committed? Heresy, of course. The Roman Inquisition found him to be a Pantheist. The Inquisition accused him of denying some basic Catholic tenets like the divinity of Jesus, the idea of eternal damnation, the virginity of Mary, and so on.
Bruno was a philosopher, mathematician and poet. He theorized about the cosmos, coming up with the ideas that the universe might be infinite and have no “center”, and that the stars were other suns perhaps with their own planets like ours, some possibly even supporting life. He figured all this out decades before Galileo, and, over the centuries, he has come to be regarded as a martyr for science.
Here is a nice little aggregation of reviews of the 2008 book, “Giordano Bruno – Philosopher, Heretic” by Ingrid D. Rowland, that provides some more insight about him.