Piazza Navona

piazza navonaThe Navona Square was called Stadium of Domitian. Constructed in 85 A.D. to host Greek athletic events, agones. It was thus called Circus Agonalis (literally ‘competition arena’). The name eventually evolved to ‘in agone’ then ‘navone’ and at last ‘navona’.

The factors that render this square admirable are:

1. Market and naval battles

After its first construction and till the time Innocent X intervened to revive the square for his own family prestige, the square was used for market, festivities and gathering place. Innocent X filled the square with water  to entertain the people. Piux IX ended the games and in 1870 the square was asphalted and became inconvenient for water games.

2. Competition

In 1653, Innocent X to honor his Pamphili family- wanted to make a majestic palace with higher quality decorations. The competion between Bernini and Borromini compeled Innocent X to shift from one architect to the other. The work to the fountain was initially given to Bernini later to his rival Borromini and again to Bernini. Started by Girolamo and Carlo Rainaldi, Sant’ Agnes in Aragone was later finished by Borromini (1653-1657).

3. Architects

The Fountain of Four Rivers  represents the four know rivers at that time, was made by four architects. The Nile by G.A.Fancelli, Rio de la plata by Francesco Baratta, the Ganges by Claude Poussin and Danube by Antonio Raggi. The Pamphili Palace was built by Girolamo Rainaldi. To be continued…

Adu K