Touring Rome Italy - Piazza Navona

What should we visit in Rome's Piazza Navona district and its environs?...

We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Rome is divided into 20 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to The Eternal City. You may be in for some real surprises. Roma, Non Basta una Vita (Rome, a Lifetime is not Enough) .

Piazza Navona lies in the heart of central Rome. In the year 86 AD the Roman emperor Domitian built a stadium to host Greek style games in an early example of multiculturalism. About two centuries later it was stripped of marble by Emperor Constantinus II and before long lay in ruins. Pope Innocent X ordering rebuilding in 1644; since then this square has been a major Roman attraction. It has starred in several movies including Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and Mike Nichol’s Catch-22. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, played a headline role in the 1990 version of Coins in the Fountain, but not the more famous 1954 Three Coins in the Fountain, which starred a beautiful competitor, the Trevi Fountain, to be described in another article. This piazza was once the sight of circus games, carnivals, and medieval jousts.

Sant Agnese in Agone Rome

Sant Agnese in Agone Rome

Behind the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) is the baroque Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. Take a close look at the Bernini statue nearest the church. A hand nearly covers its eyes supposedly so that the statue may avoid seeing the church’s façade, built by Bernini’s rival Borromini. You’ll find a great Christmas market here for a month starting in early December. Whether or not you speak French visit San Luigi dei Francesi, the official church of Rome’s French community containing, among other great art works, are three pieces by the baroque master, Caravaggio.

Palazzo Altemps

Palazzo Altemps

Just north of the Piazza Navona is the beautifully restored Fifteenth Century Palazzo Altemps which hosts the Museo Nazionale Romano. However, many of the pieces in Cardinal Altemps original collection have been dispersed into museum collections around the world. Perhaps the Cardinal was anxious to follow his vow of poverty. Make sure to see the Ludovisi Throne rendering the birth of Venus. Don’t bring the kids to this spectacular sculpture if you catch my drift.

And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium or other Italian wines.

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About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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