Piazza Navona is not just a square, it is a heritage site with the traces of a period. Although this historic square is located in the heart of Rome, it fascinates you with the ancient structures and fountains that surround it. Piazza Navona is one of the first places to see in Rome where you want to get lost in the streets smelling of history. Come to Navona Square where you will feel like you have traveled in time from the moment you step in, let’s take a closer look together.
History of Piazza Navona
The history of Piazza Navona dates back to the ancient times of Rome. It is located on the site of the Domitian Stadium, a stadium originally built by Emperor Domitian in the 1st century AD. The stadium was a large structure with a capacity of 30,000 people and hosted events such as gladiator fights and horse races. Over time, however, the stadium was demolished and the current square was put in its place.
Piazza Navona was restored and reorganized during the reign of Pope Innocent X (1644-1655). Baroque style buildings were built around the square and decorated with various statues and ornaments. During this period, the square became the center of Rome’s social and cultural life. Since then, Navona Square has been an attraction for visitors and locals alike.
Features of Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona attracts attention with its impressive baroque architecture. One of the highlights of the square is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed by the famous Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. This fountain is located in the center of a Roman obelisk and represents the gods of the four rivers (Nile, Ganges, Danube and Plata) on four continents. The details and finish of the fountain catch the eye and draw the attention of visitors.
It is also possible to come across the works of famous architects such as Francesko Borromini and Pietro da Cortona in the square. The Church of Sant’Agonese in Agone is located on the south side of the square and is one of the best examples of Baroque style. The church attracts attention with its elegant facade and frescoes on the inside. Also, the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi is located behind the square and is one of the most famous churches in Rome.
What to do in Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is known for its lively atmosphere and hosts many events and activities. As you walk through the square, you can see the work of street painters and artists, watch pantomime shows, and listen to live musicians perform. You can also sit in the cafes on the square and take a pleasant break, trying local delicacies in luxurious restaurants. You can wander the narrow streets around the square, shop in small boutiques or soak up the historic atmosphere of Rome.
What’s happening in Piazza Navona?
1. The Fountain with Three Bottles (Fontana dei Tre Mori)
One of the most remarkable features of Piazza Navona is the Three Bottles Fountains, which consists of three different fountains. These fountains were designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 17th century. Each of the fountains has a statue of an Egyptian, a Flemish and an Italian.
2. Bernini Fountain (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi)
Piazza Navona’s most famous fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, also known as the Bernini Fountain. This fountain was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 17th century. In the center of the fountain are statues that are personifications of the four rivers. These represent the Nile, Ganges, Tiber and Rio de la Plata rivers. The impressive sculptures by Bernini and the detailed design of the fountain captivate visitors.
3. Church of Sant’Agnese
The Church of Sant’Agnese, located in Piazza Navona, is an impressive baroque building. The church was completed in the 17th century and is dedicated to Sant’Agnese. The frescoes and sculptures inside add to the artistic value of the church. Visiting the church on a guided tour of Piazza Navona offers an important experience, both religious and historical.
4. Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi)
Located in Piazza Navona, the Fountain of the Four Rivers is another famous Bernini creation. This fountain is located in the same square as the Bernini Fountain and offers an impressive display. In the center of the fountain are statues representing the four rivers. The fountain is an important symbol that attracts the attention of visitors.
5. Restaurants and cafes
Piazza Navona is known for a variety of restaurants and cafes. Wandering across the square you will find many opportunities to enjoy the delicious Italian cuisine. Traditional pizzas, pastas, seafood and other Italian specialties can be found in the restaurants on this square. At the same time, you can sit in the outdoor cafes and enjoy a coffee or an aperitif.
Other attractions near Piazza Navona
There are many major tourist attractions near Piazza Navona. You can discover the wealth of Rome by visiting these places:
The Pantheon, located close to Piazza Navona, is one of Rome’s most iconic buildings. Dating back to ancient Roman times, this temple has impressive architecture. It especially fascinates visitors with its large dome and beautiful frescoes inside. You can experience the magnificence of ancient Rome by visiting the Pantheon.
2. Campo de Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori, a few minutes’ walk from Piazza Navona, is one of Rome’s famous open-air markets. Here you can stroll between the colorful stalls and enjoy fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and other regional products. You can also enjoy delicious Italian food in the restaurants and cafes nearby.
3. Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza
The Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, close to Piazza Navona, is an impressive baroque building. Striking architectural details and decorations inside attract attention. By visiting the church, you can take a closer look at this artistic work and find inner peace.
4. Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps
Another tourist spot near Piazza Navona is Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. This square and stairs are one of the most famous places in Rome. Fontana della Barcaccia and the surrounding luxury shops in the square attract the attention of tourists. You can relax by sitting on the stairs and have a pleasant time with the view.
Interesting facts about Piazza Navona
- It is believed that a ghost named Via Dell Anima lives in Navona Square. Almost all Romans are familiar with this ghost story, which is believed to take place at the time of the full moon.
- On September 3, 2011, a man decapitated many of the statues in Piazza Navona.
- Located in the square, the Church of Sant Agnese in Agone takes its name from a girl named Agnese, who was killed by her suitors when she decided to become a Christian during the pagan period and took a vow of chastity.
How to get to Piazza Navona?
Piazza Navona is very easy to reach as it is located in a central area of Rome. You can reach the square by public transport in the city. Options such as metro, bus and tram are available.
If you want to reach Piazza Navona by metro, you can reach the stations “Barberini” or “Spagna” on line A. Then you can go to the square on foot or by bus.
It is also very easy to reach by bus. There are many bus lines in Rome and there are several lines to Piazza Navona. For bus transfers, simply go to one of Rome’s central bus stops.
How do I get to Piazza Navona?
Located in a central area of Rome, Piazza Navona is easily accessible by public transport such as metro, bus or tram.
Which major attractions are located around Piazza Navona?
Around Piazza Navona are major tourist attractions such as the Pantheon, Campo de’ Fiori, Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza. Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps are also nearby.
When are you going to Piazza Navona?
Piazza Navona is a place to visit in all seasons. However, it is useful to consider that tourist density is higher in the summer months.
How much time should I spend in Piazza Navona?
I recommend taking at least a few hours to explore Piazza Navona. You can view the fountains and historic structures in the square, watch street performances, and explore the surrounding sites.