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Piazza Navona is a Roman square in the form of a rectangle stretching from north to south. From the 15th to the 19th centuries, the square was a city market. The construction of the square in the Baroque style began in the 17th century. Two churches and several palaces have access to the square.
In 46 BC. Guy Julius Caesar built the first stadium on the Champ de Mars, where athletes' competitions were held. In 85, under Emperor Domitian, the stadium was significantly expanded, and at that time it could accommodate up to 15 thousand spectators. The stadium was decorated with works of art, two main entrances were on the sides. On the ground floor, outside the stadium, there were shops for artisans, merchants, and brothels.
The first church here was erected on the site of the martyrdom of Saint Agnes. Parts of the stadium stands soon began to be built up with residential buildings. In 1470, three houses in the square were bought by Antonio Pamphilj. In 1644, a descendant of Antonio – Giovanni Battista Pamphili commissioned Girolamo Rainaldi to build a palace on the site of these houses.
In 1649, the Fountain of the Four Rivers was built in the center of the square, which today is one of the most famous fountains in Rome. The author of the project was Bernini. In 1644, Pope Innocent the Tenth decided to erect an Egyptian obelisk next to the family palace. In honor of this, he announced a competition for the best project, to which Bernini was not allowed due to the intrigues of enemies. However, the architect prepared a project for the fountain, which included the placement of statues of river gods around the obelisk. The model was left in the dining room where dad dined. Seeing him, Innokenty was struck by the harmony of sculpture and architecture. He immediately ordered to cancel the competition and ordered the construction of Bernini's fountain.
Throughout the history of its existence, Piazza Navona was a favorite place for the Romans to relax, as well as to hold festivals and fairs. In the XVII – XVIII centuries in the hottest month of the year – August, the area was flooded with water – for this, the fountains on it were deliberately overflowing.
In 1477, the market that had previously been located at the Capitol Hill was moved to the square. Subsequently, the market was moved to Campo dei Fiori.
Nowadays, Piazza Navona is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Here are the churches of Santa Maria del Sacro Cuore and Sant'Agnese in Agone, the Fountain of Neptune, the Fountain of the Moor, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, Palazzo Braschi, Pamphilia, Torres Lancelotti and Palazzo de Cupis.
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Topic: Piazza Navona in Italy, Rome resort.