Piazza Navona : A Treasure Trove of Baroque Roman Art
When one thinks of Italy, the images of Rome and its historical architecture and magnificent heritage jumps to mind. And one of the most famous attractions in Rome, where the spectacular beauty of legendary sculptors can be appreciated is the Piazza Navona. As the city square in Rome, the Piazza Navona was opened to the public during the fifteenth century, when the city market was moved to the square. It is now one of the best places to view and appreciate Baroque Roman art, and some of the breathtaking pieces that were created by the leading artists of the time.
The Piazza Navona was paved and created on what was once the site of the Domitian stadium. It was constructed by the emperor in the year 86 AD and is said to have been home to an arena that was much larger than the well known Coliseum. Although most of the stadium was destroyed to make way for the square, some of its ruins and underground division can still be viewed by means of the guided tours that are available. But most visit Piazza Navona for the fountains and statues that adorn it.
In the centre of the square, stands Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Its name means the “Fountain of the Four Rivers” and was the vision of Pope Innocent X. Borromini was given the task of designing the fountain, but the project was taken away from him and given to Bernini. What makes the fountain so spectacular is the obelisk in the middle and the four figures that were created so lifelike it is astonishing, with each figure representing a river, namely the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio della Plata. The designing of the fountain began in 1647 and the fountain itself, was completed by 1651. Another fountain of interest is the Neptune Fountain (Fontana de Nettuna) which was constructed in 1576 and the Moor Fountain (Fontana del Moro), of which the last additions to the fountain were completed in the nineteenth century. Visitors are also recommended to spend time at the Palazzo de Cupis, Church of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore, Stabilimenti Spagnoli, Palazzo Braschi and the Palazza Torres Massimo Lancellotti.
The square is always a hive of activity with artists, mimes and market stalls. Visitors can also experience the hospitality of Italy here, as vibrant cafes are located around the square. Piazza Navona is amongst the most noteworthy of attractions in Rome, and both young and old will enjoy discovering this remarkable historical site.