See remarkable remodelings of the previous site of the old Olympic Games, situated 5 meters beneath Piazza Navona.
- Entrance ticket to the underground archaeological site of the Stadium of Domitian,
- Audio guide (available in English,German,French,Spanish, Italian and Russian),
- Audio guide for children (readily available in English and also Italian).
- Live Guided Tour.
Free cancellation up to 1 day before tour starts.
It is hard not to fall for the charm of Piazza Navona full of the sound of plashing fountains and surrounded by palazzi with fine, warm-coloured fronts. Its lively bustle, which never seems to slacken, lends it a magic which has captivated generations of tourists. Even the Romans never tire of it.
It should be visited early in the morning, when the sound of the water seems to echo from building to building, and again in the evening, when the place is murmurous with the voices of the crowds. The shape of the Piazza Navona is deliberately reminiscent of Domitian’s Stadium, constructed on this site in AD 86 for Greek-style athletic contests. Before housing the great Capitoline market during the Renaissance, the square long remained a heap of rubble which local inhabitants plundered to build their homes.
The stunning design of this square was the brainchild of Pope Innocent X (1644-1655), who decided soon after his election to rebuild the church of Sant’Agnese and the Palazzo Pamphili. Bernini was chosen to create the fountains which set off to perfection both the square and the pontiff’s family dwelling. The finest, the Fontana dei Fiumi, has pride of place in the centre. According to legend, the statues of the Nile and the Plate are raising their arms to guard against the imminent collapse of Sant’Agnese’s facade. The symbolism becomes clear when we remember that one of the architects of this church was Borromini, who was Bernini’s mortal enemy.