Reasons We Love Italy: Rome’s Piazza Navona


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Piazza Navona is a masterpiece of Baroque art. This wonderful public square approximately the size of three football fields, is located in a bustling area of Rome, Italy. Originally the site of the Stadium of Domitian (1st century AD), the area was transformed into a public space in the late 15th century. Over the centuries the piazza has hosted festivals, and every December there is a popular Christmas market hosted in the square.

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Most people come to the Piazza Navona to view the sculptures and fountains that can be found here. At the north end of the square is the Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno), designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1574. In 1878 the sculpture of Neptune was added to the fountain by Antonia della Bitta.

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In the center of the square is a masterpiece by Gianlorenzo Bernini, the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi). Installed in 1651, this fountain was commissioned by Pope Innocent X. The four rivers represented in the fountain are: the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and Río de la Plata. In the center of the fountain is an Egyptian obelisk, crowned with a dove, the symbol of the papacy.

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Last but not least is the Moor Fountain (La Fontana del Moro), pictured above. This fountain was designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1574, like the Fountain of Neptune at the northern end of the piazza. The statue of the Moor standing in a shell, by Bernini, was added in 1653.

Located in the Navona section of Rome, the Piazza Navona is only a few blocks west of the Pantheon. The tight, winding streets that surround Piazza Navona can be confusing, so be sure to have a map with you.