Rome’s Campo dei Fiori as pure market square, shot nearly 150 years ago by James Anderson, one of the first professional photographers working in 19th century Italy
Now one of the hotspots of the Italian capital’s nightlife, Campo dei Fiori is, and was for centuries, a market square. It was also a place for public executions, most notably that of Giordano Bruno in 1600 for heresy; a monument to the great philosopher now stands in its centre. Campo dei Fiori was paved in the mid-15th century but never architecturally formalised, as can be seen in this image by James Anderson, one of the first professional photographers to operate in Italy in the 19th century. Born Isaac Atkinson (1813-1877), he left England to study painting in Paris and then moved to Rome, where in 1853 he opened a photographic studio. He soon became one of the most prominent in the city, specialising in historic architecture, panoramic views and reproductions of works of art. His work, and that of his son Domenico (1854-1938), who succeeded him in the studio, was displayed in exhibitions worldwide, including Paris and London. The studio continued to operate under Domenico’s heirs until the 1940s.