Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona, Rome Overview

Hailed as a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, the Piazza Navona is bristling with life in a hundred shops, restaurants and eateries that surround this historical place. One of the most beautiful squares in the historical capital city of Rome, Piazza Navona is the one of the most frequented tourist spots in the city. With three splendid fountains, a baroque church in the background and a lane full of restaurants and street performers, this square surely looks like a dream. As you take a stroll around the fountains you would witness paintings being put on display by the local artists, the smell of fresh street food being cooked and the magicians, dancers, singers and gymnasts bringing life and energy into gazing passersby.

The Piazza Navona was worked on by Borromini and Bernini. It is populated by street cafes and open-air performances and a very festive atmosphere. You could go there to wonder at the architectural magnificence as you sip on some of the best coffee, while a local street performer plays the most melodious tunes in the background. This is a great place for history buffs, families, couples and even solo travellers!

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The Three Fountains at Piazza Navona

The square is famous for its three fountains -

1. Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi translates to Fountain of the Four Rivers, as the sculptures represent the God of the Four Rivers namely : Ganges, Nile, Danube and Rio de la Plata. The base of the fountain features pope’s coat, an olive branch and a dove, along with an obelisk that is erected in the middle. The fountain was constructed in the year of 1651by the famous designer Bernini.

2. Fontana del Moro

Fontana del Moro depicts a Moor during a fight with a dolphin with four Tritons surrounding him. The credit for the same also goes to Bernini who brought this in the 17th century.

3. Fontana di Nettuno

Once known as Fontana dei Calderari due to its proximity to heat generating works, Fontana di Nettuno or The Fountain of Neptune is the third fountain in the square of Piazza Navona. The fountain was built in the 16th century by Giacomo della Porta, but it remained incomplete for the next three centuries, after which it was further decorated by Antonio Della Bitta and Gregorio Zappala. It depicts the God Neptune in a battle with sea creatures like Octopuses.

Tips While Visiting the Piazza Navona

  1. Be aware of the frauds and thieves as they tend to be at crowded public places.
  2. Do try the street food from vendors and stalls.
  3. Get yourself a portrait made by the street artists.

History of Piazza Navona

The area which is now recognised as Piazza Navona was once a site for the Stadium of Domitian, which was built in the 1st century. Also known as Circus Agonalis, it was the sporting centre for the city where the ancient Romans gathered to watch the games. Several concerts and theatrical events also took place in the stadium, after which the place was converted into an open public space in the 15th century. During the next few years, several forms of baroque artwork were added including the three fountains and the pavements were made.

How to Reach Piazza Navona

You can take various buses most frequent being 40, 60 and 64 that make a stop at Castel Sant’Angelo and then walk for 10 minutes.

The nearest metro station is Barberini which is on Orange line A from where you would have to do 20 minutes of walking.

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