One of the many beautiful and famous squares of Rome is Piazza Navona. It was built in 1st Century AD on an earlier site of Domitian’ stadium, which was constructed by the Emperor Domitian in 86 AD.
It was a competition arena for ancient Romans and they visited the Piazza to watch games. It is also believed that its name changed over a period from “in avone” to “navone”. Its location is actually in the center of the city due to which it still plays a very important role in Urban Rome.
Located in the western side of the Pantheon, Piazza Navona is not only a place of historical importance but also one of the liveliest squares of Rome and has plenty of nightclubs, outdoor cafes and restaurants.
One of the important places of Rome and Piazza Navona has a significant amount of Baroque art and architecture. It has been the main market of the city for almost 300 years. However, earlier it was used primarily for athletic purposes because it was a stadium. It was a huge edifice constructed in a rectangular shape and short rounded sides. It could accommodate 30,000 people easily. It was then paved over around the 15th Century.
It was built during the rule of Pope Innocent X. His family palace named as Palazzo Pamphili was positioned just front of the piazza. There are several creations and sculptures, which are relevant to the history of Rome. In the past, a number of theatrical events and ephemeral activities were held here. From the year 1652 until 1866, it was immersed by people who came down for the celebration of the Pamphilij family in the month of August.
In the center of the Piazza Navona stands the Four Rivers’ Fountain, which is also known as Fontana dei Qauttro Fiumi. Gian Lorenzo Bernini made it on the request of Pope Innocent X between the year 1647 and 1651. The four rivers referred here are Nile, Danube, Rio de la Plata and the Ganges. The statues are supporting a pillar of Domitian at the base of a rock, originally situated at the Circus of Maxentius, closer to the Appian Way.
The second fountain is Fontana del Nettuno or the Neptune Fountain, which is located at the Northern end and was the art of Giacomo della Porta, 1576. The statue of the Neptune is shown surrounded by sea nymphs.
Another fountain located in the Piazza Navona is the Moor Fountain or Fontana del Moro, which is located at Piazza Navona’s Southern End. It was the creation of Giacomo della Porta, displaying Moor holding a dolphin.
Church of Sant Agnese- a major highlight Piazza Navona
Another major highlight of the place is the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. In the year 1652, Pope Innocent X commissioned this place. According to the legends, St. Agnes was stripped naked at this place but due to astonishing growth of hair, he was miraculously saved. Borromini, who is the archrival of Bernini, constructed it. The church was built in the year 1670.