Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona Restaurants
Piazza Navona Restaurants

Piazza Navona Rome is one of the finest squares found in all of the city, and anywhere else, for that matter. Three magnificent fountains occupy the Navona Square, built upon the ruins of the first century Stadium of Domition. This explains its long, oval shape and it is a place where ancient Romans used to watch a variety of games and races. The name, Navona, translates to “big ship,” and no doubt it is large in size. It is of the finest examples of Rome’s baroque period and is marvelous to behold. Piazza Navona Rome is one of those places you simply have to see to get the true appreciation. Surrounded by many stunning buildings, including the church of Sant'Agnese, it is a lively center with cafes and a bustling surrounding nightlife.

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

In the center of Piazza de Navona, you will find Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s most spectacular fountain, La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or “Fountain of Four Rivers.” This fountain of fountains was erected in 1651, and following his designs, pupils of his added four dynamic statues representing the rivers Nile, Danube, Ganges and Rio de la Plata, covering the four corners of the earth. The other two fountains found in Piazza Navona are the Fontana del Moro, and the Fontana di Nettuno, both erected in the mid 1570s. These are the work of Italian architect and sculptor, Giacomo della Porta. He is responsible for many of Rome’s fountains, and had a hand in the design of St. Peter’s Basilica as well.

Piazza Navona Map
Piazza Navona Map

Popular legend has it that the sculptures found in Bernini’s fountain are shielding their faces so as not to look at the church of Sant'Agnese, a work of rival artist of the 17th century, Francesco Borromini. Pope Innocent X is said to have originally commissioned the work of the central fountain to Borromini, but instead changed his mind after Bernini corrupted his sister-in-law with a beautiful silver replica of the work. At the time, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi may have not been very popular as Innocent X raised the tax on bread, a staple of the Italian diet, to help fund the costs of this expensive undertaking. However, its location at Navona Square makes this place one of the most highly regarded tourist attractions in Rome today.

Piazza Navona At Night
Piazza Navona At Night

Adding to the life of Piazza Navona Rome is the multitude of things to do while you gaze upon the remarkable surroundings of this amazing square. Artists of Piazza Navona congregate, mostly in the summertime, to offer their skills for a small fee, and why not take home a caricature of yourself from this one of a kind place. Mimes gather with other showmen, as well as beggars to round out the eclectic atmosphere. Area cafes and gelato stands may run a bit pricey here, but the extra cost is more than worth it when you consider where you are. After all, you are on vacation and the Piazza Navona is an excellent place to people watch and just take it all in.

The Navona Square emerges spectacular in the winter, when stalls are erected in the square where toys and nativity scenes are sold along with Christmas trees and candy, and other holiday decorations. It is a wonderful place to bring children to as they will likely find interest in all things offered. Of course, there is no bad time to visit Piazza Navona, and it is unlikely as well that the visitor to this dynamic place will leave with any complaints.

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