Piazza Navona, Rome
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ADDRESS
Piazza Navona
00186 Rome
Italy
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Architecture
Historic Interest
 
 
 
 

Stone Feet, Piazza Navona

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Piazza Navona, known as Rome's living room, is a great place to people watch. And it is a great place to learn about Baroque Rome. In the 1630s Pope Innocent X, born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj, refashioned the square facing the family palazzo and set off a rivalry between Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini that was to last the remainder of their lifetime. Borromini built the baroque church Sant'Agnese in Agone. Bernini designed the infamous Fountain of Four Rivers - Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio della Plata - as tribute to the four known lands. And while Roman guides love to taunt antagonism, Bernini likely veiled the Nile to denote the river's then unknown source rather than ward off collapse of Borromini's façade. Bernini built his fountain first after all. But before you fix your feet in time, take a moment to learn the meaning behind the name. The Stadium of Domitian, built here in 85 BC, was one of Ancient Rome's most important circuses. For centuries agones, athletic games, fights and horse races, were held in the stadium's arena. In fact the word navona comes from the Greek expression in agone meaning in the site of competitions.

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A holiday tradition

Submitted on 06 August 2008 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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Piazza Navona is my 9-year-old daughter's favorite square in Rome. Visiting the Befana fair is a Christmas tradition. Wandering through the piazza en route to the Pantheon and Goliti for ice cream her preferred stroll. And on each visit she interest is different. This year the Fountain of Four Rivers sparked many a discussion on rivers and explorers. She was studying both at school.
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