Piazza Navona is surely one of the most popular area in Rome, well-known all over the world for its beautiful Baroque monuments. Its characteristic elongated shape derives from the ancient Stadium built by the Emperor Domitian in the 85 A.D., very popular for the agones (games) that took place here. This origin explains both the shape and the present name of the square: in fact, the buildings that we can see today have been erected over the ancient stadium terraces, while the name “Navona” seems to derive from “in agone”.
During the Middle Age there was an important market here and sometimes, during the summer, the piazza was partially flooded in order to get the people cooler.
Then, thanks to Innocenzo X Pamphilj’s enterprise, the square has been completely re-decorated during the XVI century, when masterpieces like Palazzo Pamphilj, the church of Saint Agnes by Borromini and the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini have been built up.
Nowadays, from the 8th December to the Epiphany, Piazza Navona is the scene of a popular Christmas market, full of people and every kind of stalls, while during the other periods you will surely enjoy the lively atmosphere and the numerous street-artists offering you a caricature.