The Piazza Navona is a famous square in Rome that was built on the site of an ancient, open space stadium from the 1st century. Today it is busy with local artists, restaurants and cafes, local residents, and tourists. With its large Egyptian obelisk, the Fountain of the Four Rivers demands attention in the center of piazza. The square was defined as a public space in the 15th century where it hosted the city market. Later, during the reign of the pontificate of Innocent X, the square became significant for its Baroque architecture with the focal point being his family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili.
There are two other fountains in the square, one on the southern end of the square being the Fontana del Moro, which has four Tritons sculpted by Giacomo della Porta, and on the northern end is Fountain of Neptune. Even at night, the Fountain of the Four Rivers is beautiful to see as the basin is lit up to highlight the statues at the base of the obelisk. Crowds remain in the piazza well into the evening, especially on warmer nights. We stayed at a boutique hotel that was situated on the square, so we had wonderful views of the people enjoying the beautiful area.
If you enjoy people watching, then the piazza, with its outdoor cafes, is a perfect location for you. At one point, we even watched as a marching band of children marched passed the fountains. There are also street artists playing music and a variety of painters offering unique paintings of famous sites in Rome. During our time there, we always saw people sitting on the benches and eating a meal, however we chose to have a glass of wine at several of the locally owned restaurants.
Perhaps this square is not as well known as some other locations in Rome, but it is certainly a top place to visit when coming to the city. It was featured in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and several scenes from the film adaptation were filmed in the piazza. With all of the local restaurants in the surrounding streets as well as the square itself, it is a great place to spend a few hours and relax in the bustling city.