Apartments in this quarter:
della Vetrina: "Rossini", an elegant studio apartment.
Vicolo della Cancelleria: "Michelangelo", a two bedroom
apartment in a 17th century palazzo. Two bathrooms
|As mentioned, the Piazza Navona
and the Campo de' Fiori quarters are in the same area, as if they formed
one quarter. Considering their countless aspects we will consider them separately, and
only in their most important highlights (it would take one thick book to mention them
The square was built exactly on the area of emperor Domitian's stadium (81-96 AD), and
retains the stadium's oblong shape with a rounded north end. It was the largest in ancient
Rome, larger than the Coliseum, and could seat 50,000 spectators. The stadium's name was
"Circus Agonalis" (competition arena), which became corrupted
to "n'Agona", and eventually "Navona". Thanks to hydraulic
engineering, naval battles engaging up to 3,000 antagonists were performed (they were
It later became a baroque jewel, with masterpieces of Bernini (the
Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Fountain of the Moor), Calderari (the
Fountain of Neptune) and Borromini (the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone).
Ruins of the ancient stadium can still be seen under the palaces (please see the last
photo). Today the Piazza strikes visitors for its harmony and colours, combined with its
elegance and charm. Varied people stroll or attend the piazza. One can find tourists,
intellectuals, kids playing, freaks and elegant "signori, painters and artists
selling their works right in the square. The kaleidoscopic, lively, cosmopolitan
atmosphere blending history, art, and love for life, i.e. the peculiar Roman character,
has here its most imaginative representation, disclosing to one's senses the Eternal
City's universal dimension, which makes it such a magical place.
Piazza Navona has been for long used as a place for meeting and processions. During
daytime life seems to be revolving around the open-air cafes, and around the artists'
stands (you can have your caricature or painting at a modest cost). Like all Rome's
squares and streets, the piazza changes aspect at night, when the atmosphere becomes
imaginative, people seem to be mesmerized, and enjoying themselves more than daytime. In
December, until Epiphany, a season market is held. Traditionally, parents come here to buy
toys for their children.
The Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone,
and the Fountain of the Four Rivers.
|Of the 3 fountains of the Piazza, fed by the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, the most
renowned is the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Fountain of Four
Rivers - 1651 AD), by a mature Bernini, following the decision of Pope Innocent X.
An obelisk from the Circus Maxentius was erected over a rocky grotto, from which a lion
and a horse emerge. The obelisk appears to be resting on an open cavity. The large figures
represent the main rivers of the four continents known at that time: the Danube, the River
Plate, the Ganges, and the Nile (with a veiled head to indicate that its source was still
unknown at that time).
Close-up of the fountain.