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.
By Ann Shields, AFAR Staff
Piazza Navona was built on the foundations of a stadium constructed for Emperor Domitian in the 1st century C.E. Three grand fountains are the highlight of this elegant and impressive space: The main fountain in the center was designed by Bernini and depicts four major rivers of the four continents through which papal authority had spread. Note the interesting shape of the piazza, ringed by Renaissance palaces that were once private homes to Rome's nobility.
By Robin Simon
I saw this amazing sky a couple of days ago while I was going for a coffee at Piazza Navona in Rome. The picture describes perfectly how the sky looks like at around 9 o' clock at night! You can get easily there since it is at the center of Rome. Just take a bus or walk a couple of minutes from Fontana Di trevi or piazza Di Spagna! ! Taste Italian coffee or gelato (icecream) and watch this beautiful scene!
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.
By Joseph Smith
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.
Piazza Navona was built on the foundations of a stadium constructed for the Emperor Domitian in the 1st century C.E. Three grand fountains are the highlight of this elegant and impressive space: The main fountain in the center was designed by Bernini and depicts four major rivers of the four continents through which Papal authority had spread. Note the interesting shape of the piazza, ringed by Renaissance palaces that were once private homes to Rome's nobility.
By Gillian Longworth McGuire, AFAR Local Expert
Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy