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Visiting Piazza Navona, Rome

How to get there, walking tours including the Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona square, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome

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?

Fontana dei Fiumi Piazza Navona Rome
Fontana dei Fiumi Piazza Navona Rome

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.

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 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.

Piazza Navona Church of Sant'Agnese, Rome
Church of Sant'Agnese

Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone

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.

Portrait Painters Piazza Navona, Rome
Portrait Painters at Piazza Navona

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.

Getting to Piazza Navona

City Sightseeing Rome hop-on hop-off open top sightseeing bus
Rome City Sightseeing bus

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.

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 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.

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

Professional walking tours that take in the Piazza Navona

On these 2.5 or 3 hour walking tours your guide will journey you through the essential places in 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.

Colosseum

ANCIENT ROME WALKING TOUR

Pantheon
Fast track: ancient Rome half-day walking tour with arena entrance

• Fast track entry Colosseum/ Roman Forum + Palatine Hill • Also visit Trevi, Piazza Navona and Pantheon • Headsets to hear guide • Led by local guide

piazza navona

BEST OF ROME WALKING TOUR

Pantheon
Best of Rome walking tour

• 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

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