Commissioned by the family of Pope Innocent X in 1652, this piazza and its church were built in monumental style. Not long after the the project was initiated it was taken over by Francesco Borromini who is also responsible for the completion of the dome and building of the twin belltowers as well as the concave facade also being his design.
In the centre of the piazza is Bernini's most spectacular fountain, la Fontana dei Fiumi or The fountain of Rivers. Erected in 1651, this fountain features a central rocky structure that supports an obelisk, an ancient Roman imitation of the Egyptian form.
Around the fountain are four giant statues by Bernini's pupils following his designs representing the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Rio della Plata, each one representing one of the four quarters of the world. The statues have astonishing lifelike positions and movement. It is thought that one of the statues in Bernini's fontana dei fiumi is covering his face so as not to look at the church. This was thought to be the case because of an intense rivalry between the two artists. However, the dates of the construction of each shows that the fountain was built first.
To the western side of the piazza stands the delightful church of Sant'Angese in Agone. It is said that here Agnese was exposed naked, but miraculously covered by the prodigious growth of her hair.
At the northern end is the Fontana di Nettuno meaning Neptune. And at the southern end, the Fontana del Moro meaning Moor, which was also designed by Bernini and features the statue of a Moor fighting with a dolphin.
In the summer Piazza Navona is a very popular and lively place not only for tourists but also for locals who can enjoy one of the many open air cafes around it. Numerous artists gather here also to draw characatures or portraits in chalk of people who choose to pay the fee. At Christmas the piazza is lined with stands selling figurines of all sizes and forms for nativity settings. Definitely a place to visit in Rome.