Celebrated for its beautiful fountains and elegant, Baroque-style architecture, Piazza Navona is one of the most picturesque squares in Rome. It was once the location for the Stadium of Domitian, in 86AD, where Romans held chariot races and athletics competitions. These days it provides a more relaxed vibe, with its many restaurants, cafés and terraces lining the square. It’s a chance to sit back, relax and watch the artists and street performers at work. There are numerous hotels near Piazza Navona to choose from, leaving you free to explore the ancient wonders of Rome at your leisure.
Points of interest within the area
The three fountains of Piazza Navona were built between 1574 and 1651. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), the Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor), originally known as the ‘Seashell Fountain’ and the Fontana del Nettuno, (Fountain of Neptune). The statue of Pasquino, known as the ‘speaking’ statue, was constructed in 1501. This can be found at the southwest end of the piazza.
A beautiful example of late Renaissance architecture is the Lancellotti Palace, which overlooks the Piazza Navona. Its elegant interiors have retained the delicate frescoes and ancient statues, which give a real sense of history to the place. For those with an ecclesiastical bent, the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, with its twinned towers, commissioned in 1652 by Pope Innocent X is a majestic building and well worth a visit. So too is the Santa Maria della Pace, located on Arco della Pace. This is a 15th-century church, which has since undergone the same Baroque makeover as its neighbours. Complete with an art gallery in the cloisters, there is much to see.
Every year, for the last 100 years a traditional Christmas market is held in the square, with twinkling lights, laughter, games and the smell of doughnuts filling the air.
To get a true understanding of the Vatican City and its history, it is possible to book a tour and take to the streets with a knowledgeable guide. View the Sistine Chapel and combine your visit with the Vatican gardens and Museum for an extra special day out.
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