Visiting Piazza Navona, Rome

How to get there, walking tours including the Piazza Navona


Piazza Navona with fountains or fontana

Fontana or fountains: at the Piazza Navona

 

On this page

Piazza Navona is one of the largest and most beautiful piazza squares in Rome with three impressive fountains, including la Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi with its large obelisk at the centre. The baroque church of Sant'Agnese in Agone provides an impressive backdrop.

 

Surrounding the square are restaurants and street artists, painters and musicians who add a lively atmosphere to the scene.

 

This page covers details of how to get to Piazza Navona plus self guided walks including the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.

 

The reason for its long oval shape is that it was once the site of the Stadium of Domitian - where festivals and sporting events took place. The Navona Square was paved over in the 15th century to create what we see today.


Despite the undoubted architectural delights and history of the place, for most people this is a pleasant place to hang out, have a drink or meal from the many restaurants that line the piazza and people watch.

 

What is there to see at Piazza Navona?

Three famous fountains: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana di Nettuno

La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of Four Rivers) constructed in 1651 for the pope is the most photographed item in the square. Bernini designed the fountain and it was paid for by taxes on staples like bread.

Fontana dei Fiumi Piazza Navona Rome

The Great Rivers: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Piazza Navona


The centrepiece of the fountain is a tall Roman obelisk and surrounding it four figures can be seen, each representing the great rivers: Ganges, Nile, Danube and Rio de la Plata.

 

The pope's coat of arms, a dove and and olive branch are found on the rock base of the fountain. The two other fountains, at the north and southern ends are smaller and also have stunning scupltures. The Fontana del Moro at the southern end of the piazza depicts a Moor fighting a dolphin - Bernini's addition in the 17th century.


At the northern end is the Fontana di Nettuno, (Neptune) built in 1576 by Giacomo della Porta. The statues of Neptune surrounded by sea nymphs were added in the nineteenth century.

 

Both of these fountains were started prior to the Fontana dei Fiumi but have been altered several times as time has slipped by.


Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone

Church of Sant'Agnese, Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza Navona: Church of Sant'Agnese
with Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in foreground

The original church here was thought to have dated back to around AD 300 when the young St Agnes was martyred here. The church today that dominates the west side of the square directly opposite Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi was commissioned by the Pope just after the fountain.


Anywhere else in the world this church and its opulence may be a major attraction but in Rome where churches like this are found almost around every corner the volumes of tourists are more prompted by its location on the Piazza Navona and extending your visit to the Piazza just a little longer with a chance of somewhere to sit down and pause to reflect and regroup.


Palazzo Braschi

At the southern end of Piazza Navona is the Palazzo Braschi that now contains a Museum of Rome over three floors and is relatively lightly visited given the numbers that pass the door. On the ground floor is a pleasant cafe/bar and courtyard.


Street Theatre Artists, Painters & Restaurants

There is always something going on at the Piazza Navona day or night. At the northern end of Piazza Navona there is a large number of portrait painters and vendors of art and posters in residence.

 

The square is a major attraction in the evening when the numerous restaurants that line the square do a great trade. A great entertainment during the day is to enjoy a drink or ice cream and engage in people watching which Piazza Navona is perfect for.

 

Getting to Piazza Navona

Portrait Painters Piazza Navona Rome

Souvenirs: portrait painters at Piazza Navona

All the popular hop on, hop off sightseeing buses have a stop a few minutes' walk away also providing access to the Piazza Navona.


There is no Metro station nearby. By bus, the Piazza Argentina is on the route of many buses including the very frequent 40, 60 and 64 buses that shuttle between the Vatican, the centre of the city and then on up to wards Termini Station.


Free self guided walks Trevi Fountain to/from Piazza Navona

Walking is the best (only) way of getting around really. Most visitors will amble to wards the Trevi Fountain or Piazza Navona, (both sign posted). A classic Rome walk is to start at the Spanish Steps and end at Piazza Navona visiting the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon on the way.

Free self guided walk - Spanish Steps to/from Trevi Fountain

Free self guided walk - Trevi Fountain to/from Piazza Navona via the Pantheon


Map of walk between Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona via the Pantheon

Map Of Walk Between Trevi Fountain And Piazza Navona via The Pantheon

Professional walking tours that take in Piazza Navona

Ancient Rome where Piazza Navona is, is located in a maze of narrow lanes waiting to be explored. You seem to make another discovery around every corner.

Some people like to strike out independently clutching a good guide book, others just want to take in the atmosphere.


If you are really interested in understanding what you are witnessing then a local guide can show you the best of what there is to see and also offer someone to bounce of ideas for further exploration. There are many walking tours available. Below are two that take in Piazza Navona.


Ancient Rome Walking Tour Prices
Ancient Rome Walking Tour Including Spanish Steps Prices
Popular tours & tickets in Rome

Vatican Museums tours & fast track tickets

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets    €30.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets + Audio Guide    €38.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum with Audio Guide

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets + Early Entrance    €49.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum before public opening

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets with Guided Tour    €62.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum before public opening

Vatican Museums Fast Track Access With Coach Transfers    €66.00

Tour in English plus hotel pickups

Vatican Museums Private Tours With Fast Track Access    Prices vary on numbers

Your own personal guide for your own grouo of 1 to 9 people

St Peter's Basilica tours & fast track tickets

St Peter's Basilica Fastrack with audio guide    €15.00

Fast track access to St Peter's together with audio guide in choice of languages

St Peter's Basilica & Cupola Fastrack plus guided tour    €46.00

Small group tour including visit to Cupola (Dome)

St Peter's & Vatican Museums combined tours

Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 1    From €38.00 (+€23.00 admissions)

Guided 3 hour walking tour with Fast Track Access + early/evening entrance options

Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 2    From €64

Guided 3 hour walking tour with Fast Track Access + early/evening entrance options

The Vatican In 1 Day - Most Comprehensive Tour    €93.50

Visiting Vatican Museums, St Peter's & Basilicas inc Saint John Lateran

Other Vatican tours

Audience With The Pope    €28.00

Attending Wednesday audience with transfers

Vatican Gardens Tour    €41.00

Includes admission to Vatican Museums

Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Colosseum & Roman Forum Fast Track Tickets    €16

2 Day Fast Track Admission Ticket To: Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Colosseum & Roman Forum Walking Tour    €42

Fast Track Admission & 3 Hour Guided Tour

Colosseum & Roman Forum Waking Tour    €54.00 or €104 Special Access Tour

Fast Track Admission & Guided Tour (Max 25 people)

Colosseum & Roman Forum With Special Access To Underground Chambers    €104

Fast Track Admission & 3.5 Hour Guided Tour Wih Special Access

Colosseum and Ancient Rome in Virtual Reality    €89.00

3 hour small group tour of max 6 participants

Colosseum & Roman Forum (Segway Tour)    €75.00

3 hour tour by Segway machine

Walking tours (Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi...)

Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon,Trevi    €45.00

3 hour walking tour with admissions. Afternoon tour

Spanish Steps, Pantheon,Trevi,Navona    €39.00

3 hour afternoon walking tour

Villa Borghese Gallery

Villa Borghese Fast Track Tickets    €25.00

Fast track admission ticket for a 2 hour slot

Villa Borghese & Gardens    €59.00

2 hour tour of gallery + 1 hour gardens tour

Other popular City of Rome tours

Dan Brown 'Angels & Demons' Tour    €56.00

4 hr walking tour inspired by the Dan Brown novel

Best Of Rome Coach Tour    €41.00/€99.00

Half or Full Day coach tour of main sights

Roman Gladiator Lesson     From €55.00

2 hour lesson in becoming a Roman Gladiator

Night Tours Of Rome    €30.00/€47.00

Choice - walking or coach tour of Rome by night

Private car & driver

4 hour customised Rome tour    €198.00-€273.00

Price per Mercedes vehicle (1 to 8 passengers)

8 hour customised Rome tour    €353.00-€468.00

Price per Mercedes vehicle (1 to 8 passengers)


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