Things to do in Rome

Insider Guide To Exploring Piazza Navona Rome

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Piazza Navona is one of the most famous squares in Rome. Its history dates back to the 1st century AD when it was built as a stadium for athletic competitions. Today, the square is known for its beautiful Baroque architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Surrounded by elegant palaces and adorned with magnificent fountains, Piazza Navona is a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists. The square is also lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it the perfect spot to relax and soak in the lively ambiance of Rome.

Piazza Navona Rome

Piazza Navona - In A Nutshell

Handy information

⏰ Suggested Duration:2 hour
☀️ Best Time to Visit:April or May
🚇 Closest MetroFontana di Trevi


Santa Agnese
Trevi Fountin
Spanish Steps

Things to know

Built in: 1st Century AD
Location: Rome
Architect: Bernini and Borromini
Architectural style: Old Roman, Baroque

Opening Hours And Address

The public space is open for all and is open 24/7

Address: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Get Directions

Why Is Piazza Navona Worth Visiting?

  • Free to Visit: Piazza Navona is open to the public and does not charge an entrance fee, making it a budget-friendly destination for travelers.
  • Historical Significance: With its origins in ancient Rome, holds a unique place in the city's history as a former stadium for chariot races and athletic competitions.
  • Cenrally Located:Situated in the heart of Rome, Piazza Navona is conveniently located near other iconic landmarks and attractions, such as the Pantheon and the Vatican.
  • Vibrant Atmosphere: Piazza Navona buzzes with energy and activity. The square exudes a vibrant atmosphere, bustling with street performers, artists, and musicians.
  • Fountains and Art: Piazza Navona is home to several magnificent fountains, each with its own unique design and story. As you explore the square, you will come across the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Fountain of Neptune, and the Fountain of the Moor.
  • Cafes and Restaurants: The square is lined with charming cafes and restaurants, offering a wide range of culinary delights.

Recommended Tickets

Piazza Navona History

Piazza Navona Fontana Nettuno

Piazza Navona Rome is the finest example of urban continuity in Rome. It is built in the exact area occupied by Rome's first stadium (built by Domitian between 81 and 96 AD). The stadium was known as Circus Agonalis (competition arena), which became "n'Agona" when the idea for the square came up and eventually "Navona". The stadium could accommodate up to 30,000 spectators and was used for various events, including chariot races and athletic contests. When Innocent X was elected Pope (1644-55), he decided to embellish the Piazza to honor his family, the Pamphilj. With this in mind, he had his family palace and the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone rebuilt, ordered the restoration of the two fountains that Gregory XIII had installed at either end of the piazza, and commissioned the colossal Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi in center. Over the centuries, the stadium underwent many changes and transformations, eventually evolving into the picturesque square we see today.

Piazza Navona at Night

Piazza Navona at night

Piazza Navona truly comes alive at night, offering a whole new experience for visitors. The square is beautifully illuminated, casting a warm glow on the surrounding buildings and fountains. The cafes and restaurants that line the square stay open late, providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy a romantic dinner or a drink while taking in the magical ambiance. In summer especially, it is advisable to visit the Piazza at night to take advantage of the cooler evening temperatures. The only downside of visiting Piazza Novona at night is that photographs don't come out as great as they do during the day. If you haven't done a guided twilight stroll in Rome yet, there's no better place than the Piazza Navona for it.

Top Highlights Of Piazza Navona

1Piazza Navona Fountains

Piazza Navona Rome centers around three lavish fountains - Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana di Nettuno. La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of Four Rivers) is the most photographed item in the square. The centrepiece of this grandiose fountain is a tall Egyptian obelisk and muscular personifications of 4 rivers - Nile, Ganges, Danube and Plate. Make sure to look out for the Pope's coat of arms, a dove and and olive branch found on the rock base of the fountain.

 Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

2St. Agnes Church

To the west of Piazza Navona Rome, facing the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi stands the Sant'Agnese in Agone Church, commissioned by the Pope Innocent X and designed by Borromini just after the fountain. The lore goes that Bernini designed the Nile and Plata statues of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi with their arms shielding their eyes from the ugliness of the church. In retaliation, Borromini is said to have added the statue of St. Agnes on the facade, gazing out beyond the square so as not to see the fountains in the square.

Sant'Agnese in Agone Church

3Museo di Roma in Palazzo Braschi

Palazzo Braschi is a Neoclassical Palace near Piazza Navona. It houses the Museo di Roma, which is famous for its hefty collection of paintings, drawings, photographs, books, furniture and ceramics that depicts the opulent history of Rome from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century.

Palazzo Braschi

4Tartufo from Tre Scalini

Tarfuto is a rich handmade chocolate ice cream roll which is a tad bit on the costly side but definitely worth the splurge. You get the best Tarfuto in Rome from a cafe named Tre Scalini on Piazza Navona.


Best Time To Visit Piazza Navona

The best time to visit Piazza Navona is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild and pleasant. This is also the time when the square is less crowded, allowing you to fully appreciate its beauty and historical significance. Early morning or late afternoon are ideal times to explore Piazza Navona, as the lighting creates a magical ambiance.

Additionally you can learn more about the Best Time to Visit Rome.

Getting There

  • By Car: The closest parking lot is Parlamento Parcheggio.
  • By Bus: 30, 70, 81, 87, 492, 628
    Nearest Stop: Senato
  • By Metro: Line A, B
    Nearest Stop: Barberini - Fontana di Trevi

Insider Tips to Visiting Piazza Navona

  • Beware of pickpockets and thieves while you're here. Keep your passports and gadgets in particular close.
  • For the best coffee in town, grab a mug from Sant'Eustachio bar.
  • The world famous Frigidarium Gelateria is a stone's throw away from Piazza Navona Rome. Make sure you pop by.
  • Though Piazza Navona has great food, coffee and gelato, they are highly priced to cater to the tourists. If you're on a budget, walk into the backlanes and pop by any of the cafes for a decent meal at an economical price.
  • On the eve of the Epiphany (the night of January 5), Piazza Navona's toy fair explodes in joyful conclusion, with much noise and rowdiness to encourage La Befana, an old woman who brings toys to good children and pieces of coal (represented by coal-looking candy) to the naughty. If you're in Rome during this period, make sure to experience this cultural event.

Attractions around Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona Guide