Grab a gelato or a beer nearby, and take a seat in the square to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Piazza Navona is a spectacular square in Rome's old city centre that is always humming with life. It is a beautiful spot, featuring exquisite fountains and overlooked by the lovely Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. Cars are banished from the area; all you can hear is the low buzz of conversation and the gentle bubbling of the fountains.
In truth, Piazza Navona is more of a thin rectangle than a square - it lies on top of the former Stadium of Domitian, a grand arena used in Ancient Roman times to host chariot races and athletic competitions. An estimated 30,000 Romans would cheer on their favourite in the games, called agones; it is believed that the name evolved from in agone to in avone, and finally navona.
Today, the square is popular with visitors and locals alike. Numerous street artists vie for your attention, and a number of excellent eateries can be found down the surrounding cobbled backstreets. There are plenty of benches for sitting down and taking in the wonderful atmosphere, which is especially pleasant on warm summer evenings.
The Fountain of the Four Rivers in the centre of Piazza is one of the most important fountains in Rome. It was designed by the Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and represents the major rivers of the four continents: the Nile in Africa, the Danube in Europe, the Ganges in Asia and the Rio de la Plata in South America. Legend has it that the figure recoiling in the centre is trying to shield his eyes from the Church of Sant'Agnese opposite, which was designed by Borromini, Bernini's greatest rival. Also impressive is another Bernini design, the Moor Fountain, which represents an Ethiopian battling a dolphin, and the statue of Neptune slaying a giant octopus in the Fountain of Neptune.
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