Piazza Navona

On any day of the year, at any time, there are people in Piazza Navona.

They are not only tourists, but also many Romans, who come here to sit on the benches, to have an ice cream in the bars along the square, or, simply, to watch the crowd of tourists strolling through the fountains and palaces of this Baroque masterpiece Roman Piazza Navona is one of the most loved squares by the Romans, for centuries a place dedicated to the entertainment of the poor and aristocrats.

 

Life in the square

In this beautiful square, children continue to play football and Roman families make an appointment.

On summer evenings, when the sunset colors the roofs of Rome red, Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful places to be.

The rectangle of sky above the square slowly darkens, while the yellow lights come on in the houses and clubs. If you emerge from any of the side streets, you will be delighted by so much beauty.

 

History

Piazza Navona is one of the most famous squares in Rome, built by the Pamphili family. Its shape is that of an ancient stadium: it was built in monumental style at the behest of Pope Innocent X (Giovanni Battista Pamphilj).

The square, at the time of ancient Rome, was the Stadium of Domitian which was built by the emperor Domitian in 85 and in the third century it was restored by Alexander Severus.

It was 276 meters long, 106 meters wide and could accommodate 30,000 spectators.

The stadium was richly decorated with some statues, one of which is that of Pasquino, now in the homonymous square next to Piazza Navona.

Since it was a stadium and not a circus, there were no carceres (the gates from which the racehorses came out) nor the spina (the dividing wall around which the horses ran) such as the Circus Maximus, but that was all free and used for athletes’ competitions.

The obelisk that is now in the center of the square was not there, but comes from the circus of Maxentius, which is still on the Via Appia.

The name of the square was originally “in Agone” (from the Latin in agonis, “games”) since the stadium was used only and exclusively for athletics competitions.

In ancient times the square was concave, the closures of the three fountains were blocked and the water came out so as to flood the square.

 

Where is it

From our apartments just cross PONTE SISTO and in 10 minutes on foot you will arrive in Piazza Navona.

 

Don’t forget to go to Campo dei Fiori to visit the market and drink a good fresh juice and buy something good to cook at home.

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