PIAZZA NAVONA

Piazza Navona is one of the most famous and most beautiful of Rome’s many squares. The large and lively square features no less than three magnificent fountains. Another eyecatcher is the baroque church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. The square is built on the former Domitian’s stadium, built by emperor Domitian in 86 AD. Hence the long,oval shape of the square. The stadium, which had a larger arena than the Colosseum was mainly used for festivals sporting events. The stadium 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’. In the 15th century the stadium was paved over to create the Navona square, but remnants of Domitian’s stadium are still visible around the area. The main attraction of the Piazza Navona are the three fountains. The central and largest fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of the four rivers). It was constructed between 1647 and 1651 on request of the Pope Innocent X. The design of the fountain was first commissioned to Borromini, but it was ultimately handed to his rival Bernini.

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