The name Piazza Navona comes from the old Latin name of the square, Agones, which means games. Indeed it was built in 86 AD by Diocleziano to host athletics and horse races. The current shape of the square reminds the perimeter of the old Stadium of Diocleziano, whose ruins are now visible at 5/6 meters under the ground in Piazza di Tor Sanguigna.
A particular past show was called “the lake”, during the which, in Summer, the only point of drain was closed to fill the square with water that was necessary to refresh people.
A curiosity is that the church and “the Fountain of 4 rivers” (in the heart of the square) were respectively created by Borromini and Bernini, two of the most famous enemies in the whole history of Art. We can recognize the signs of their rancor in one of the four statues that cover its face with a rag to snub the church behind. The fountain is composed by a high obelisk surmounted by the Pamphili family emblem, which lived in this square in 17th century. The obelisk that was found in a Cirque along via Appia is sorrounded by 4 statues that represent the 4 major rivers for each continent: Nile, Danube, Rio de la Plata and Gange.
Nowadays the sqaure is a melting pot of artists, children and tourists and it’s also a meeting point for Roman people that want to explore the city center.
So what are you waiting for? Be ready to become the main character of your own story in Piazza Navona.