Even with Segway tours rolling through and street performers loudly competing for audiences, the 15th-century Piazza Navona somehow retains a shred of grace and elegance in modern Rome. Calm Renaissance palazzi face the piazza’s centerpiece, the famous and complicated Bernini work, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (“Are these colossal male depictions of the four great rivers of the world writhing on top of a boulder not fancy enough? Let’s top it with an obelisk for a little visual interest.”). The piazza itself was created when a 1st-century arena was paved over to create a market square—you can still sense the oval track of the arena in the shape of the opening. Come for a gelato and some excellent people-watching, especially in the evening.
Piazza Navona in the Rain
Rome never disappoints. We had just arrived from our international flight from Phoenix to Rome in the morning to pouring rain, and had some difficulty finding out hotel, but those obstacles, to us, provide some of the most sublime and fulfilling experiences in travel. We’d been to Rome before, but to experience it rainy, cold, and wet, we felt like we were seeing a different city, and this wasn’t a bad thing! About an hour before this photo was taken, we had stopped at the Trevi fountain to place some of my mother’s ashes there, and as we arrived in Piazza Navona (a very famous square in Rome’s Centro Storico near all the tourist spots) around 9pm, the drizzle increased to a moderate downpour, creating a sheen on the piazza we had not experienced on previous trips here. We decided to sit down at one of the many cafes and ordered some hot tea and wine. As the warmth of our drinks reinvigorated us, on a whim I decided to pull out my camera. I turned around and took a single photo; my first photo for this trip as a matter of fact, and as I look at it now, I can’t think of a more beautiful place or moment in Rome. Rain or shine, Rome never disappoints.
Midnight Strolls in Rome
Not far from the apartment where we were staying was the Piazza Navona, filled with art vendors and outdoor cafes (but what part of Italy doesn’t have those?). I was mesmerized by the Fountain of the Four Rivers. I’d say it’s comparable to the Trevi fountain, and certainly worthwhile to wander by.