Piazza Navona

Info and reservation:

Cooperativa IL SOGNO - Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. 06/85.30.17.58 - Fax 06/85.30.17.56

Email :  service@romeguide.it

Map of Piazza Navona

1.Church of  Sant' Agnese in Agone
2
. Fountain of Neptun
3
. Fountain of the Four Rivers
4
. Fountain of the Moor

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The most famous square of Baroque Rome stands on the site of Domitian’s stadium and the name seems to derive from a popular corruption of the term for the competitive games “in agone” which were held here. From the times of Domitian on, the place was used almost exclusively for sports events, including the famous August regatta in which the participants wore the colours of the nobles and the civic clergy. Even now the feast of the Befana (January sixth) is celebrated there with a typical market. 

But the real attraction of the square is the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, dated 1651, and thanks to which the artist gained the admiration and protection of the Pope then in office, Innocent X. The rivers represented in the fountain are the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio de la Plata. They are arranged on a steep rocky reef from which a Roman obelisk taken from the Circus of Maxentius daringly rises up into the air. 

         Popular tradition has it that the sculptures on the fountain symbolize the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini, who were the most important artists in 17th century Rome. Innocent X at first had commissioned the work to Borromini, but Bernini obtained the commission by “corrupting” Donna Olimpia, the pope’s sister-in-law (he gave her a silver copy of the project). 

         Borromini built the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, which stands in front of Bernini’s Fountain. For this reason the personified Rivers seem to cover their faces, not to see Borromini’s “horrible” work.

          In line with the Fountain of the Four Rivers are the Fountain of the Moor, in front of the Palazzo Pamphilij and the Fountain of Neptune, formerly of the Calderari, at the northern end of the square.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Piazza Navona is a square in Rome, Italy. The piazza follows the plan of an ancient Roman circus, the 1st century Stadium of Domitian, where the Romans came to watch the agones ("games"): It was known as 'Circus Agonalis' (competition arena). It is believed that over time the name changed to 'in agone' to 'navone' and eventually to 'navona'.

Defined as a square in the last years of 15th century, when the city market was transferred here from the Campidoglio, Piazza Navona is now the pride of Baroque Rome. It has sculptural and architectural creations: by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers, 1651) in the center; by Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi, the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone; and by Pietro da Cortona, who painted the gallery in the Pamphilj palace.

The market was moved in 1869 to Campo de' Fiori. The square has hosted theatrical shows and horse races. After 1652, on every August Saturday and Sunday, the square was turned into a lake to celebrate the Pamphilj family. This feast was suppressed in 1866.

Piazza Navona contains two additional fountains sculpted by Giacomo della Porta — the Fontana di Nettuno (1574), located at the northern area of Piazza Navona, and the Fontana del Moro (1576), located at the southern end of the piazza.

Other monuments facing the square are:

  • Stabilimenti Spagnoli
  • Palazzo de Cupis
  • Palazzo Torres Massimo Lancellotti
  • Church of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore
  • Palazzo Braschi (Museo di Roma)

Literature and films
The piazza is featured in Dan Brown's 2000 thriller Angels and Demons, in which the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is listed as one of the Altars of Science.
The piazza is featured in several scenes of director Mike Nichols' 1970 adaptation of Joseph Heller's novel, Catch 22.
The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi was used in the 1990 film Coins in the Fountain. The characters threw coins into the fountain as they made wishes. The Trevi Fountain was used in the 1954 version of the film.

Info and reservation:

Cooperativa IL SOGNO - Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. 06/85.30.17.58 - Fax 06/85.30.17.56

Email :  service@romeguide.it

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