In ancient Rome, the current site of the square was occupied by the Stadium of Domitian, built by the Emperor Domitian in 85 AD, and restored by Alexander Severus in the 3rd century. The stadium was 265 meters long, 106 meters wide, and could accommodate about 30,000 spectators.
The square became again a public space used for recreational purposes in the second half of the 15th century, during the reign of Pope Paul II. However, the most important transformations in the square took place during the pontificate of Innocent X, around the middle of the 17th century, when Piazza Navona took on its current appearance.
The square was supposed to celebrate the greatness of the Pamphili family, and Innocent X, born Giovanni Battista Pamphili, desired the palace of the same name to be erected in the square, together with other imposing structures.
Piazza Navona is a symbol of Baroque Rome, with architectural and sculptural elements by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi.
In the center of the square, stands the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The fountain is topped by the Obelisk of Domitian, brought from the Circus of Maxentius.
Piazza Navona has two other fountains – Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain), sculpted by Giacomo della Porta and retouched by Bernini, located in the southern area of the square, and Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune), work of Gregorio Zappalà and Antonio Della Bitta, located in the northern area of the square.
Piazza Navona houses two churches – the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, built starting with 1652 by Francesco Borromini, Girolamo Rainaldi and Carlo Rainaldi, and the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore), built around the middle of the 15th century and renovated in the 19th century.
Palazzo Pamphili, located in the southwestern part of the square, was built between 1644 and 1650 by Girolamo Rainaldi. The first floor of the palace accommodates the long gallery designed by Borromini and frescoed by Pietro da Cortona.
Other palaces overlooking the square are Palazzo Braschi, built at the end of the 18th century, Palazzo Torres, built around 1552 by Pirro Ligorio, and Palazzo Tuccimei, built in the second half of the 16th century.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest Metro station is Spagna, located about 1.4 kilometers away, on the Metro Line A. The closest bus stop is Rinascimento, located about 70 meters away, on the bus Lines 30, 70, 81, 87, 492 and 628.
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