Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is undoubtedly the synthesis of Roman baroque art, with architectural elements and sculptures by masters such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (the Fountain of the Four Rivers) at the center of the square represents the Danube, the Nile, the Ganges and the Rio de la Plata, the four corners of the Earth; Francesco Borromini, with his church Sant'Agnese in Agone, in front of Bernini's fountain, and Pietro da Cortona, the author of the frescoes at Palazzo Pamphilj. Piazza Navona is one of the most famous squares in Rome and has the shape of an ancient stadium, built in monumental style as ordered by Pope Innocenzo X.

Former known as Domitian's stadium, it has become the jewel casket of admirable works of art such as the Fontana del Moro (fountain), sculpted by Giacomo della Porta and retouched by Bernini, and the Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune's Fountain) by Gregorio Zappalà and Antonio Della Bitta. The Church of Saint Agnes celebrates the martyrdom of the Saint, occurred in the brothel that existed in the place where the church was built. In the Middle Age, before the present church was built, a small parish church was erected in the same spot.

According to the legend, the Piazza was the stage of the alleged rivalry between Bernini and Borromini: in the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Nile has a blindfold on his head to escape the unhappy view of the façade of Borromini's church, while the Rio de la Plata has an arm stretched to protect himself from the perhaps imminent collapse of the building.

This belief is groundless, because the fountain was actually completed before the church, still it describes the well know rivalry between the two artists.