Navona - Via della pace quarter

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Apartments in this quarter:
click here to go to the apartment presentationVia della Vetrina: "Rossini", an elegant studio apartment.
click here to go to the apartment presentation
Vicolo della Cancelleria: "Michelangelo", a two bedroom apartment in a 17th century palazzo. Two bathrooms


As mentioned, the Piazza Navona and the Campo de' Fiori quarters are in the same area, as if they formed one quarter. Considering their countless aspects we will consider them separately, and only in their most important highlights (it would take one thick book to mention them all).
The square was built exactly on the area of emperor Domitian's stadium (81-96 AD), and retains the stadium's oblong shape with a rounded north end. It was the largest in ancient Rome, larger than the Coliseum, and could seat 50,000 spectators. The stadium's name was "Circus Agonalis" (competition arena), which became corrupted to "n'Agona", and eventually "Navona". Thanks to hydraulic engineering, naval battles engaging up to 3,000 antagonists were performed (they were called "naumachiae").

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

It later became a baroque jewel, with masterpieces of Bernini (the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Fountain of the Moor), Calderari (the Fountain of Neptune) and Borromini (the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone). Ruins of the ancient stadium can still be seen under the palaces (please see the last photo). Today the Piazza strikes visitors for its harmony and colours, combined with its elegance and charm. Varied people stroll or attend the piazza. One can find tourists, intellectuals, kids playing, freaks and elegant "signori, painters and artists selling their works right in the square. The kaleidoscopic, lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere blending history, art, and love for life, i.e. the peculiar Roman character, has here its most imaginative representation, disclosing to one's senses the Eternal City's universal dimension, which makes it such a magical place.
Piazza Navona has been for long used as a place for meeting and processions. During daytime life seems to be revolving around the open-air cafes, and around the artists' stands (you can have your caricature or painting at a modest cost). Like all Rome's squares and streets, the piazza changes aspect at night, when the atmosphere becomes imaginative, people seem to be mesmerized, and enjoying themselves more than daytime. In December, until Epiphany, a season market is held. Traditionally, parents come here to buy toys for their children.

Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone

The Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone,
and the Fountain of the Four Rivers.

Of the 3 fountains of the Piazza, fed by the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, the most renowned is the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Fountain of Four Rivers - 1651 AD), by a mature Bernini,  following the decision of Pope Innocent X.
An obelisk from the Circus Maxentius was erected over a rocky grotto, from which a lion and a horse emerge. The obelisk appears to be resting on an open cavity. The large figures represent the main rivers of the four continents known at that time: the Danube, the River Plate, the Ganges, and the Nile (with a veiled head to indicate that its source was still unknown at that time).
The Fountain of the Four Rivers

Close-up of the fountain.

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To visit the immediately adjacent quarters, click on these addresses-URLs:

- The Campo de' Fiori quarter
- The Pantheon quarter
- The Trastevere quarter
- The Jewish quarter
- The Trevi Fountain-Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)
- The Monti-Coliseum quarter
- The Roman Forum
- The Vatican quarter
The Janiculum