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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.
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.
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.
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 an 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 sculptures.
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 19th century.
Both of these fountains were started prior to the Fontana dei Fiumi but have been altered several times as time has slipped by.
More recently Piazza Navona featured in the film Angels and Demons based on the best selling Dan Brown book. Various other locations throughout Rome also featured heavily in this popular film.
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.
Extending your visit to the Piazza just a little longer is worth it especially if there is a chance of somewhere to sit down and pause to reflect and regroup.
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.
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.
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 frequent 40, 60 and 64 buses that shuttle between the Vatican, the centre of the city and then on up to wards Termini Station.
Walking is the best (only) way of getting around really. Most visitors will amble towards the Trevi Fountain or Piazza Navona, (both signposted). 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.
On these 2.5 or 3 hour walking tours your guide will journey you through the essential places in the historic centre of Rome, including the Trevi Fountain, Rome Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona.
You can then choose whether to add on the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Your guide will inspire you with entertaining stories to give you a deeper knowledge of the ancient Rome you came here to learn about.
• Visit Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Trevi Fountain • 2.5 hour walking tour • Led by local guide • A hot drink (coffee or hot chocolate) in winter • Optional upgrade to combine with Colosseum tour
• Fast track entry Colosseum/ Roman Forum + Palatine Hill • Also visit Trevi, Piazza Navona and Pantheon • Headsets to hear guide • Led by local guide
|Vatican Museums tours & fast track tickets|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets||From €27|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets + audio guide||From €39.90|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets + early entrance||From €56|
|Vatican Museums fast track access with coach transfers||From €60|
|Vatican Museums private tours with fast track access||Prices vary on numbers|
|St Peter's Basilica tours & fast track tickets|
|St Peter's Basilica fastrack with audio guide||From €19.50|
|St Peter's Basilica guided tour||From €27|
|St Peter's Basilica guided tour with access to cupola (Dome)||From €49|
|St Peter's & Vatican Museums combined tours|
|Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 1||From €57|
|Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 2||From €61|
|Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St Peter’s||From €92.50|
|Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens & St Peter’s guided tour with breakfast||From €139|
|Vatican gardens tours|
|Vatican gardens walking tour||From €38|
|Vatican Gardens bus tour||From €85|
|Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill|
|Colosseum & Roman Forum fast track tickets||From €23.50|
|Colosseum & Roman Forum special access Belvedere, Arena & Undergound||From €105|
|Colosseum & Roman Forum walking tour||From €45|
|Walking tours (Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi...)|
|Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon,Trevi||From €35.90|
|Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Trevi, Navona||From €39|
|Villa Borghese Gallery|
|Villa Borghese fast track tickets||From €24|
|Villa Borghese fast track tickets+ guided tour||From €79|
|Villa Borghese & gardens||From €69|
|Other popular City of Rome tours|
|Best of Rome by bike||From €49|
|Roman Gladiator lesson||From €88|
|Night tours of Rome||From €54|
|Private tours of Rome|
|Flexible customised private tours of Rome by car|
|Private sightseeing tour of Rome by golf cart|