Piazza Navona is a city square in Rome, Italy. It follows the plan of an ancient Roman circus, the 1st century Stadium of Domitian, where the Romans came to watch the agones ("games"): It was known as 'Circus Agonalis' (competition arena). It is believed that over time the name changed to 'in agone' to 'navone' and eventually to 'navona'.
Defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century, when the city market was transferred to it from the Campidoglio, the Piazza Navona is now the pride of Baroque Roman art history. It features sculptural and architectural creations by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers, 1651) stands in the center; by Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi, who designed the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone; and by Pietro da Cortona, who painted the galleria in the Pamphilj palace.
The market was again moved in 1869 to the Campo de' Fiori. The piazza long hosted theatrical shows and horse races. From 1652 until 1866, when the festival was suppressed, it was flooded on every August Saturday and Sunday for elaborate celebrations of the Pamphilj family.
The Piazza Navona contains two additional fountains, sculpted by Giacomo della Porta: the Fontana di Nettuno (1574), located at the northern area of the piazza; and the Fontana del Moro (1576), located at the southern end.
Other monuments on the Piazza Navona are:
- Stabilimenti Spagnoli
- Palazzo de Cupis
- Palazzo Torres Massimo Lancellotti
- Church of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore
- Palazzo Braschi (Museo di Roma)
Literature and films
- The piazza is featured in Dan Brown's 2000 thriller Angels and Demons, in which the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is listed as one of the Altars of Science. During June 2008, Ron Howard directed several scenes from the forthcoming film of film adaptation of Angels and Demons on the southern section of the Piazza Navona, featuring Tom Hanks.
- The piazza is featured in several scenes of director Mike Nichols' 1970 adaptation of Joseph Heller's novel, Catch 22.
- The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi was used in the 1990 film Coins in the Fountain. The characters threw coins into the fountain as they made wishes. The Trevi Fountain was used in the 1954 version of the film.