Piazza Navona, Rome

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    The fountains

    by Tijavi Updated Dec 11, 2009

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    Piazza Navona was ancient Rome's main market for centuries. Today, it is a focal point for hordes of tourists attracted by the piazza's lively atmosphere, stylish cafes, local art market and the three fountains: Fontana del Moro (photos 1-3), Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, and the ever popular Fontana del Nettuno (photos 4-5). The centerpiece is Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), but it was under restoration at the time of my visit.

    Between the two functional fountains, I found the Fontan del Moro to be more dramatic and more worthy as a photo subject - especially the sculpture of a Moor wrestling a dolphin added by Bernini to Giacomo della Porta's original design.

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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona

    by aukahkay Written Oct 10, 2009

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    Piazza Navona is one of the most animated squares in Rome, full of tourists and Romans wandering among stalls set up by artists or relaxing with a coffee in one of the many bars. Piazza Navona was built over the remains of the emperor Domitian's ancient atheletics stadium. It was originally used for atheletic contests and horse races. Three baroque fountains can be found on the piazza: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno - all Bernini's masterpieces.

    Piazza Navona Piazza Navona Piaza Navona with Fontana Nettuno
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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Some random thoughts...

    by Tijavi Updated Oct 3, 2009

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    Arguably the epicenter of Rome's tourism industry, tourists easily outnumber locals at Piazza Navona. But this doesn't mean you have to give this venue a pass - that is if you can escape it. Its location in the heart of Rome's centro storico (historical center) means that you would have to pass by this amazing public square built on the ruins of a Roman arena. Might as well make the most it.

    I specifically liked the energy that pervades around the piazza. It's tourism-oriented (think tourists haggling for painting), but very much intense in terms of energy and character from the beautiful baroque palazzi and fountains. It, too, is a perfect refuge for tired tourist's feet, while being entertained by the throng of tourists, who, most probably share your purpose in being there.

    Piazza Novona's An entertaining refuge for tired tourists
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  • icunme's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona - Center's popular gathering spot!

    by icunme Updated Sep 6, 2009

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    Rome holds a very special attraction for me at sunrise. Even the most popular destination will unveil her heart to you at dawn - when it is quiet, solitary, with lingering traces of the previous night's revelry (photo 1). Strewn evidence of the racous nightlife will shortly give way to the artisan's easel. The commanding presence of the Church of Santa Agnese en Agone will open its doors to the devoted - not an unusual scene in Rome where revelry and reverence co-exist, seemingly oblivious to each other or, perhaps, choosing to ignore one another. Sunrise reveals the secrets of the night and you are privy to the transition. The absence of people provides an unobstructed view of the resident art - the rising sun baths the piazza in radiant light. Witness nature embellish art - changing the tint of travertine from moment to moment. I won't blink - won't miss a shade.

    Photo 2 - Piazza Navona is bustling during the day and always a center of Rome's night life. The Piazza in daytime with artists and browsers with the Church of Santa Agnese in Agone in background.

    Photo 3 - Piazza Navona was frequently flooded - nope, not by rain nor storm runoff or the Tevere -- by Romans themselves to provide fun for all! This plate by Vasi shows us Piazza Navona in summer when it was flooded to provide refreshment to the Romans - reminiscent of an ancient era when the Stadium of Domitianus was used for "naumachias" - combat boat games.

    Photo 4 - Marcel's show early evening in summer - a "must see" especially for families - more detail on Local Customs tip

    The Piazza was embellished at the end of 19th century by the third fountain on the north side. Pope Innocentius X, Giovanni Battista Pamphili 1572-1655, was elected in 1644. (More detail on the fountains in another tip). He was born in the family palace in Piazza Navona and is buried in the Church of Santa Agnese in Agon. This gives us a hint as to why he devoted effort and resources to transform the former vegetable market among the ruins of the Stadium of Domitianus into one of the most impressive piazzas in all of Rome.

    Piazza Navona at sunrise Busy Piazza Navona with Church of St Agnese Plate by Vasi - summer flooding of Piazza Navona MARCEL's show in Pza Navona - SEE LOCAL CUSTOM tip
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  • tim07's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona

    by tim07 Written Aug 30, 2009

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    This oval shaped piazza was my favourite square in Rome. It takes its shape from being on the site of an ancient Roman stadium. The square is visibly beautiful, the main style of architecture is Baroque.

    The square is dominated on one side by the church Sant' Agnese in Agone. In the centre is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. The four rivers are represented by four giants & in the centre an obelisk. There are fountains at either end of the square also. As the square is a magnet for tourists it is surrounded by shops & cafes.

    Fontana del Moro Sant' Agnese in Agone Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

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  • vichatherly's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona

    by vichatherly Written Jun 5, 2009

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    This piazza is a beautiful place to relax and stop for a while. It's full of fountains and ringed by restaurants and cafes.

    It owes its elliptical shape to a stadium and racetrack that was built here in AD86 by Emperor Domitian.

    Be ready to take plenty of pictures of fountains from all angles.

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  • roamer61's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona

    by roamer61 Written May 3, 2009

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    This is one of the largest and most famous of Romes numerous Piazzas. Its famed for the trio of beautiful and ornamental fountains to be found here. It was once a roman circus, where people came to watch games. It became public space in the 15th Century. The fountains includes the Fountain of Neptune in the north; the Fontana del Moro in the south and the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center by Bernini. Around the Piazza are various souviner shops and restaurants where one can dine. A visit here is mandatory for any visit to the eternal city.

    Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) Fontana del Moro (1576) Neptunes Fountain (1574)

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona

    by MM212 Updated Apr 12, 2009

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    This unusually shaped piazza used to be a stadium in Roman times under the name Stadio di Domiziano. Small fragments of the stadium can be seen incorporated into the construction of some of the surrounding buildings. As would be expected in Rome, Piazza Navona is complete with a beautiful Baroque church (Sant'Agnese in Agone), a famous Bernini fountain (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) and an Ancient Egyptian obelisk. This is one of Rome's most picturesque and atmospheric piazze where one could delightfully linger while enjoying the cafés and restaurants around the oval piazza.

    Piazza Navona, Jan 2005 Oval shaped Piazza Navona, Jan 2005 Obelisk & S. Agnese in the background January 2005 Bernini
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  • cjg1's Profile Photo

    Incredible Fountains and Artwork

    by cjg1 Updated Mar 26, 2009

    Piazza Navona is a beautiful square full of activity. There are beautiful fountains, cafe, street artists selling their artwork, the church of the Sacred heart and lots of people. Weenjoyed sitting at Tres Scalini and enjoying some Tartufo before wandering about the Piazza and checking out the fountains which are incredible. The street artista had some nice painting and interesting work to sell. There was even an artist whose medium was spray paint. He was making all sorts of interesting pictures with some stencils, spray paint and an sponge.

    This was a great place to walk around and take in all the activity surrounding us.

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  • fdrich29's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona and Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

    by fdrich29 Written Feb 12, 2009

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    Piazza Navona was our rest stop on our short trip across Rome with ViaTour, which was included when we booked two nights at our hotel. This was the third stop on the tour, immediately following our visit to the Pantheon. The center of Navona is Bernini's masterpiece Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, The Fountain of Four Rivers, erected on June 12, 1651. Lot's of renovation going on while we were there, but the stunning beauty of the piazza and fountain were not lost. In addition to the charm of the piazza, we were able to take a moment to use the restroom and grab a drink and gelato, and rest a bit before we got back on the bus and drove to the Vatican.

    Piazza Navona Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Piazza Navona and Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
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  • Paisleypaul's Profile Photo

    Marcel - Piazza Navona

    by Paisleypaul Updated Feb 8, 2009

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    Marcel is usually to be found nearer the Southern end of Piazza Navona, just towards the centre. He has a ghetto blaster to acoompany his tiny troupe of dancers so let your ears lead you. He very comically looks disinterestedly askance as his finger puppets shake their respective thang. His repertoire 2004 included The Tramp/Chaplin & the girl (picture), bossanova, the Can Can and the piece de resistance Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal (this doll has a bizarre white ping pong ball head and moonwalks). DVD was worth the EU10 as a souvenir

    This July 2005 tip was updated 8 February 2009 with the new website link

    Marcel at Piazza Navona
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  • WheninRome's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona

    by WheninRome Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Piazza Navona was my favorite of the squares. It is alive and electric at night, filled with shoppers, vendors and lovers. The Four Rivers Fountain in the center of the square is exquisite and the architecture of the surrounding buildings amazing.

    I could wander around this square and through the adjacent streets for hours.

    Piazza Navona Vendors Four Rivers Fountain in Center of Piazza Navona Piazza Navona Plaque
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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Disappointment (December 2007)!

    by breughel Updated Jan 27, 2009

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    Piazza Navona is my preferred square in Rome but at the time of my visit in December 2007 I felt extremely disappointed by the way she looked.

    First of all the large central fountain “Fontana dei Fiumi” of Bernin was in restoration. This marvellous fountain was hidden behind panels with some glazed openings. The unhappy tourist could only see some sculptures supported by scaffolding.
    Since the summer of 2008 the marvellous central fountain is again visible, a great relief for those who love this piazza like me and were disappointed by what they saw.

    My disappointment did not stop there, in December the beautiful perspective of the Piazza Navona is destroyed by fairground stalls mixing a fun fair and a kind of Christmas market without anything of the charm of the Christmas markets of Germany or Alsace.
    Don't expect to sit at the nice terraces of the cafes or restaurants; they look at the back of the shacks.

    On a sunny Sunday in February 2008 I came back with my wife. The last time she had been on the Piazza Navona was in the early nineties. Although the December fairground was gone she also felt very disappointed. She discovered in the sixties what was once a so romantic piazza. Now all romantic has gone at Piazza Navona and has left room for a commercial market.

    Of course this is a personal totally subjective appreciation of persons who have seen this piazza before the great tourist invasion. I'm sure that most first visitors love the present lively Piazza Navona. Elder visitors have found other, still hidden, romantic places in Rome.

    ================
    Note - May 2008.
    From comments received from much younger people than myself (so not influenced by romantic souvenirs of thirty or forty years ago) my disappointment appears to be shared not only because of the works at the main fountain but also because of the somewhat "seedy" aspect of the piazza.

    Navona - renovation of the fountain 2007-08. Navona - the December fairground. Navona in December. Navona in February.
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  • monica71's Profile Photo

    The best place to see great baroque art!

    by monica71 Written Jan 23, 2009

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    Piazza Navona is a very colorful piazza, with lots of outdoor cafes, free entertainment, endless displays of art pieces for sale, and a multitude of baroque art pieces that you can see in one place.

    It is always a fun place to hang around if you have the time (not that we did, but we visited the piazza several times during our stay). There are several fountains in the piazza, but by far the masterpiece is the Fountain of the 4 Rivers by Lorenzo Bernini.

    The other 2 fountains are sculpted by Giacomo della Porta. Fontana di Nettuno (1574) is located at the northern area of the piazza, and Fontana del Moro (1576) is located at the southern end.

    me in Piazza Navona Building with Piazza Navona plaque name on it Vendors in Piazza Navona Another view of Piazza Navona
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  • Turska's Profile Photo

    Piazza Navona by night

    by Turska Updated Oct 12, 2008

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    There was artists painting potrets and musicans playing here.It is nice to walk and see and hear them.Restaurants were overpriced-and not so good value of money-eat somewhere else,just walk here,and maybe buy a icecream.
    We happened to hear for man palying half-acoustic guitar and playing our kind of music:slow songs from Led Zeppelin,Metallica,Rolling Stones and so on.Not so loud and slow enough to get older people also to listen and seemed to like also.

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