Places of Interest
Hotel Navona is situated in the heart of the historic centre next to Piazza Navona. All the main tourist attractions are within walking distance, making this the ideal starting point for discovering the wonders of the Eternal City.
- Piazza Navona 200m - 3 minute walk
- Pantheon 280m - 4 minute walk
- Campo dei Fiori 500m - 6 minute walk
- Piazza Venezia 900m - 11 minute walk
- Trevi Fountain 900m - 11 minute walk
- Via Del Corso 900m - 11 minute walk
- Ara Pacis 950m - 11 minute walk
- Via Condotti 1000m - 12 minute walk
- Castel Sant’Angelo 1100m - 13 minute walk
- Spanish Steps 1400m - 16 minute walk
- Trastevere 1500m - 17 minute walk
- Piazza del Popolo 1600m - 19 minute walk
- Circus Maximus 1700m - 20 minute walk
- Colosseum 1900m - 24 minute walk
- Vatican City 2300m - 30 minute walk
- Vatican Museums 2500m - 32 minute walk
PIAZZA NAVONA, a little history!
Piazza Navona is one of the most famous Baroque squares in Rome. It was built in the monumental style for a commission by Pope Innocent X of the Pamphilj family to celebrate its prominence.
The exceptional artistic and cultural heritage of the square is due to the architecture and sculptures by Bernini, Borromini and Rainaldi, including:
- The Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, which represents the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio della Plata – the four corners of the earth;
- The Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone (said to have been dedicated to a young girl who died in the Stadium of Domitian) was initially a project by Girolamo Rainaldi, but work proceeded under the direction of Borromini who made changes to the original project. Construction was eventually completed by Carlo Rainaldi, the son of the architect who had begun the work.
- The frescoes of the gallery in Palazzo Pamphilj by Pietro da Cortona depicting Scenes from the Life of Aeneas
In addition to these great works, there are four splendid palaces,
Palazzo Braschi, Palazzo Lancellotti, Palazzo Pamphilj, and Palazzo Tuccimei, and a further two fountains,
the Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) and the Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain) both built by Giacomo della Porta.
The square sits on the site of what was the Stadium of Domitian during ancient Rome, built by Domitian for the Greek athletic games that he particularly enjoyed. The name Piazza Navona derives from the Greek word for the contest, “agones” which became "agone", then "in agone", "innagone", "navone" and finally arriving at "Navona".
With its rectangular shape, the stadium, of which you can still see some remains, was
275 metres long, 106m wide and could accommodate up to 30,000 spectators.
Piazza Navona is the subject of many legends:
- The first concerns the apparent rivalry between Bernini and Borromini . It is said that a spiteful Bernini wanted to protect two of the four statues form his rival’s work by sculpting a blindfold on the head of the Nile statue to spare him the unpleasant view, and a hand on the Rio della Plata positioned so as to shield him from the imminent collapse of the church. However the legend is unfounded as the fountain was in fact built before the church (also, it is accepted that the Nile has a covered head because the river’s source was not known at that time). It is true, however, that statue of St Agnes on the church facade has a posture open to many interpretations including that the famous hand on her chest and her facial expression are signs of her state of upset.
- The second legend is related to the use of the square for naval battles. This truly urban myth states that during August the square would be flooded for relief from the heat. Historically, the square was actually concave, and by opening the three fountains the water would flood the square.
many artists take up position in the square to display their creations, and at the same time produce portraits (and caricatures) of passers-by. The square has become a meeting place and stage for street performers who make it one of the liveliest and most interesting parts of the city, especially during the evening.