Piazza Navona: A former stadium in the center of Rome
Attractions | 11.10.2019
The stadium in the first century B.C., now the square, included in almost every sightseeing tour in Rome. This is one of the most beautiful places in the Italian capital, so its popularity is justified.
About Piazza Navona
In the first century B.C. Here functioned the Domitian Stadium, built by Titus Flavius and seating 15 thousand people, which was not much at that time. Especially when the Colosseum was already functioning in the city. While gladiatorial games were held in the famous amphitheater, the Domitian stadium was used for athletics competitions. The former location of the stadium is easily traceable. All it takes is to look at the square at a height. You can immediately see how the building system creates the shape of a stadium with one rounded side.
Gradually, the area began to turn into public and commercial space. At first it was a merchant's row on the upper deck, and in the 12th century, after the reconstruction of the square and getting rid of the already dilapidated stadium, it was turned into market. It is interesting that now it is almost impossible to trade on the square, only sometimes it is allowed to do this during Christmas markets.
Piazza Navona is surrounded by incredible examples of Baroque architecture and sculpture. These are the palaces: Palazzo de Cupis, Palazzo Pamphilj, Palazzo Braschi and Palazzo Torres Lancellotti. As well as the temples: Church of Santa Maria del Sacro Cuore and Church of St. Agnes. In the palace of Braschi there is the museum of Rome, which is also worth visiting.
Besides temples and palaces, the square is famous for fountains. There are three of them, they are located on two sides of the square and in the center.
In the central part there is a fountain of the Four Rivers with sculptures of river gods of the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and La Plata. In the north there is the Neptune Fountain with a majestic statue of the God of the seas. In the south part of the square there is the fountain of the Moors with the statue of the same name.
Three fountains are masterpieces of the sculptural arts. For example, the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the sculpture of the Moor are the works of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, the founder of Baroque sculpture.
Piazza Navona is a concentration of the beauty of architecture and Baroque sculpture, one of the most "Italian" places in the city and just a good option for an evening walk with a convenient location in the city center. The square is a short walk from Spagna, Cavour and S.Pietro metro stations. And there are many attractions around. One can walk to Campo de 'Fiori shopping area, Spada Gallery and Tiber Embankment. And if you like to walk a lot and have enough time, then you can reach the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on your own in 20 minutes.
Do you know?
  • Many buildings around the square still stand on the founda1tions of the Domitian stadium that was once located here. When building the area, it was decided that it would be more convenient to use the existing foundation. The stadium was dismantled, and some materials were used for the construction of houses.
  • From the 16th century to the present, the Romans used "talking" statues as platforms for expressing criticism of the state and government. Squibs and leaflets were attached to the feet of six statues. One of them, the statue of Pasquino, is located near the Braschi Palace next to Piazza Navona.
  • The Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Trevi Fountain and the Barcaccia Fountain in Plaza de España were connected until 1648, although they are far from each other. They were filled with one ancient Roman aqueduct Aqua Virgo.
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