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navona square

Lifestyle Suites is located in the heart of Rome, at number 93 of Piazza Navona, overlooking the Fountain of the Four Rivers and St. Agnes in Agony.

Called the Baroque Square of Rome, Piazza Navona has, on the other hand, more ancient origins. Inside the Parione neighborhood, Piazza Navona takes its name from the term Agone, meaning race or battle in greek and used to indicate public demonstrations of games.

In ancient Rome, around 86 AD, the square was a Stadium, built by Domitian and it was used as the main arena for athletics games and for chariot races, which until then had taken place in Campus Martius, a more suited location for it, since it was outside of the city.

Until the middle of the fifteenth century, it was possible to see the remains of the stadium overgrown with weeds, but by the mid-seventeenth century, with the renovations ordered by Pope Innocent X, the square only kept his old perimeter while the appearance was drastically changed. Nowadays, among the buildings built by the hand of Pope Innocent X, we can find included Pamphili Palace, location of the Brazil’s Embassy, and the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, whose construction is due to Borromini.

Sant'Agnese in Agone stands in the place where tradition tales the miracle of St. Agnese happened. Agnes, a thirteen years old girl who had refused to marry his promised husband, was stripped naked in front of the crowd in the Stadium, but miraculously grew a thick head of hair, which she could cover his naked body with. Later, Agnes was slaughtered with a sword, and today has become the patron saint of all young women.

By the sides and in the center of the square, you can admire the three fountains that characterize Piazza Navona. The most important is placed in front of the facade of St. Agnes in Agone. It is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers’Fountain), featuring four statues representing the four rivers considered the most important of the world during the renaissence: the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and the Rio de la Plata. The fountain was sculptedby Bernini, bitter rival of Borromini. In fact, the Nile’s Statue, carved right in front of the Church, covers his face with his hands; it has been said, it was a gesture, alluding that the Church, built by Borromini, might collapse, since it was so bad builded. It is not known whether legend or is reality, but this tale definitely describes the hostility between the two artists. At the center of the fountain of the Four Rivers there is the Egyptian obelisk, previously located in Maxentius’s Circus.

The second fountain is the Fontana del Moro, carved with dolphins and marine animals, this one is also designed by Bernini. At the opposite end you can admire the Fountain of Neptune, representing Neptune fighting a sea monster surrounded by other sea creatures.

The picturesque Piazza Navona is surrounded by cafes and restaurants and is often crowded with tourists and street performers. With their portraits and their beautiful paintings, they give a touch of the bohemian style to the square. Evening is the best time to visit Piazza Navona: the atmosphere is full of colors and it becomes a meeting place for tourists, standing near the fountains or sitting at the bar’s table, sipping a drink, captivated by the magic of buskers and street performers. During Christmas period, Piazza Navona gives shelter to someof the most sought-after markets, where families come to buy items for cribs and children to have fun on the rides, waiting for Jan. 6, the day when Italy celebrates Epiphany.