Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful squares in the world and offers visitors a chance to admire the urban continuity of 200 years of history.
What sculpted fountains, baroque palaces outdoor cafes, Piazza Navona is the showcase of downtown Rome. This spectacular Baroque composition rests on the remains of an ancient Roman stadium.
Here stood the ancient Domitian Stadium (Circus Agonal) where sports and competitive activities were organized and which had a capacity of as many as 30,000 spectators.
Thereafter the square has long been the center of the city’s social life, for three centuries the square hosted the most important market the city.
Today it hosts those who flock there for a moment’s rest, a chat, an aperitif or lunch in a beautiful setting made by human hands.
- Immerse yourself in the dolce vita and relaxed atmosphere of Rome. Enjoy an ice cream while admiring the Spanish Steps.
- Climb to the top of the Spanish Steps and enjoy the scenery of Rome.
Piazza Navona is a must during your stay in Rome. This corner of the city attracts many types of travelers because it has so many points of interest. Here are which ones:
Fountain of the Four Rivers
Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers dominates the center of Piazza Navona. It is easily recognized because it features an Egyptian obelisk and four muscular figures.
The four characters personify the rivers the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata, which symbolize the then known continents.
According to legend, the figure impersonating the Rio de la Plata raises his arm to protect himself from the possible collapse of the church of Sant’agnese in Agone, designed by Francesco Borromini, Bernini’s arch rival.
In response, the statue of the saint inside the church holds her hand over her heart as if to say, “I will not fall.” But it is, indeed, only a legend.
In fact, the fountain was completed in 1651, two years before Borromini finished the church.
The Fountain of the Moor, in the southern part of Piazza Navona, depicts a Moor wrestling with a dolphin and originally consisted simply of the dolphin and 4 tritons.
It was designed by Giacomo della porta 1576 and in 1653 Bernini embellished it by designing a statue of a Moor riding a dolphin.
In 1874 the original was moved to the Bourgeois Gallery and replaced with a copy.
At the northern end of Piazza Navona, the Neptune Fountain is adorned with 19th-century statues depicting Neptune fighting a sea monster, surrounded by mermaids.
The Neptune Fountain originated as a public drinking and washing fountain with a basin designed by Giacomo Della Porta.
By the end of the 19th century, Romans no longer depended on public fountains for water supply, and the fountain became purely decorative.
Church of St. Agnes in Agony
La chiesa di Sant’agnese in Agone fu progettata da Francesco Borromini ed è uno dei migliori esempi di architettura barocca a Roma.
Questa chiesa è stata edificata sul luogo del martirio di Agnese, una ragazza di tredici anni di una famiglia cristiana.
Si narra che fu esposta nuda agli spettatori dello stato di Domiziano per essersi rifiutata di sposarsi.
La leggenda dice che i suoi capelli crebbero miracolosamente scendendo sul suo corpo e nascondendolo alla folla. Agnese fu poi condannata a Morte.
- During Christmas, Piazza Navona hosts Rome’s largest Christmas market. If you happen to be here at this time, you can’t miss it.
- The square is named “Navona,” which means ‘big ship’ because of its distinctive and unique shape, which resembles the hollow profile of a ship.
- For more than two centuries (1651-1867) the square was flooded every weekend in August, the hottest month in Rome. The pond would later host staged naval battles for the entertainment of aristocrats.
Piazza Navona is located in the historic center of Rome and is within easy walking distance of other nearby sites, such as: the Pantheon (5 min.), Campo de’ Fiori (5 min.), and Castel Sant’Angelo (10 min. ).
Subway: there are no stops near the square. The nearest stops are ‘Spagna’ and ‘Barberini’ on Line A. Both are a 15-20 minute walk away.
Buses: 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 116, 492, 628
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