The Colosseum
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Piazza Navona


Piazza Navona, the most beautiful baroque square in Rome, occupies the runway of the Stadium of Domitian which has preserved perfectly elongated rectangular shape with a curved lower side.
The stadium was built by Domitian perhaps even before dell'86 AD, to serve Greek athletic games he particularly appreciated, measuring 275 meters in length to 106 wide, two main entrances opened at the center of the long sides, while another was at the center of the curved side. From a calculation on the length of the steps we could rebuild figure viewers in about 30,000.
Around Mille, the stadium was still full closed and the square it was divided into small garden with some hovel and the small, primitive, the church of S. Agnese.

The life of the square began, however, until the second half of the fifteenth century when he was here moved the market for several years was held on the square Capitol, becoming a fixed point of sale of vegetables, meats and goods different. Place Market and meeting, the square became the place of feasts and processions, the more that had been regularized and "brick" in 1485.
Spaniards introduced in 1579, the tradition of the procession of morning Easter with the firing of crackers; here, we renewed those parties May carnival of Roman who had already made famous Piazza and Other places in the city. Was essential for the improvement and ornament of Piazza, the firm of Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572-85), which did well lead three fountains, including a drinking trough in the service market and animals vehicles that flow.
In 1647, Innocent X did raise an obelisk in the piazza, found on Via Appia in the Circus of Maxentius, the inscriptions in hieroglyphics, in which appears the name of Domitian, show that he belonged in the home to another monument: it was, in fact, at the Temple of Isis, then transferred by Maxentius in his Circus. The obelisk, of granite and 16.54 meters high, was used to decorate the Fountain of the Rivers by Bernini.
The fountain was inaugurated in 1651 and was paid with the proceeds of some unpopular taxes on bread, wine and Similar kinds of consumption. The monument is one of the most beautiful and famous of Rome Baroque and represents the four major rivers then known, the Ganges, the Nile, the Danube and the Rio della Plata, with many giant statues. The Nile he heads veiled because its sources were then unknown, for People, however, expressed contempt for Bernini of the nearby church S. Agnese in Agone, designed by his rival Borromini, while the arm lifted, to protect the head, in the figure of the Rio Plata, expressed the Artist fear ironic that the church could collapse.
The heraldic emblem of the pope, with the dove olive branch, decorates the rock pyramid dell'obelisco and symbolizes the power God descending like solar radius along the four corners dell'obelisco up to the rock, which commemorates the matter without form, chaos.

The church of S. Agnese in Agone is based, they say, the place where, in 304 AD, was martyred young Agnes, guilty of having refused his son the prefect of Rome and therefore denounced as a Christian. It was undress and its hair, then, had a miraculous growth and took cover in full the body. None more os? violating his virginity after the only one that we tried fulminates fell at his feet: the young slain ended. In response the statues of the Fountain of Rivers, the people attributed to the statue of St. Agnes, placed on the facade and depicted with one hand on her chest, the desire to reassure the statue of the Rio Plata about the stability of the church. Inside, there is the tomb dell'artefice beauty of the square, Innocent X, which, they say, blesses those who do not see it: in fact, the tomb is located above the entrance, from the inside, so very few are those who turn to admire the bust of the pontiff.
The other two fountains that adorn Piazza Navona is the Fontana del Moro and the Fountain of Neptune, works Giacomo Della Porta. The Fontana del Moro, located on south side, under the windows of the Palazzo Pamphili, was embellished by Bernini who designed, originally, one of his usual dolphins that held, on the tail lifted, a snail, in fact, the fountain was called "the Snail" as long as the figure who did not like or to Pamphilj nor to the people, was replaced with The "Moro", a bust of Ethiopian, so that gave its name to the fountain.
On side of the square there is that of Neptune, which, not Having a Donna Olimpia that protected, was long abandoned, without The central statue: this was in fact to 1873, when the city of Rome, after a competition notice, the work assigned to the Sicilian and Roman Zappal? Della Bitta, author of Neptune.
A major event that made famous Piazza Navona was inaugurated on 23 June 1652 by Pope Innocent X and his sister-in-law: were closed discharges of the three fountains, leaving Debord, well, water to cover the central part of Piazza, who was concave. Nobles and poveracci you entertained: first, through the square on horseback or carriage, the second paddle above or pushing carts in the water by hand. The "Piazza Navona Lake" became a customary summer and for almost two centuries, Saturday and Sunday of the month August, the square is flooded, until, in 1866, under Pope Pius IX, the entertainment was suspended. After 1870, with Rome capital of Italy, Piazza Navona was paved with "paving", but was especially built Central back to the sidewalk donkey, which means that the square became convex rather than concave, making it impossible, therefore, any rehabilitation of the "lake". This does not permanently removed, however, animating the square, which, while gaining a fun-fair, born during the period Christmas, the feast dell'Epifania: on this occasion, the square fills of stalls, toys, "Befane" and "Father Christmas" almost do not want abandon the game and the joy that for centuries have accompanied.

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