Virtual 360 Tour: Piazza Navona, Rome

July 10, 2023

The second most famous square in Rome after Piazza de Trevi (home to the Trevi Fountain), Piazza Navona’s buildings are among Rome’s finest examples of Baroque architecture. Adorned with three stunning fountains, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno —the Piazza is a particularly magical sight at night, when all three fountains are lit up, bringing their exquisite marble sculptures to life through rushing streams of water.

Today Piazza Navona is thronged with tourists who flock to admire the magnificent buildings, including Bernini’s imposing Church of Sant-Agnese in Agone, standing elegantly behind the Fontana di Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers)—whilst life surrounding the square revolves around authentic open-air cafes, trattorias and traditional markets.

Piazza Navona

Before the Piazza was embellished as a Baroque masterpiece during the time of Pope Innocent X, it was originally another of the Roman Empire’s areas of spectacle—the Stadium of Domitian, built in the first century during Domitian’s reign.

In this virtual reality video, envisage yourself in the midst of one of Rome’s most treasured Piazzas and learn some of the history emanating from the buildings down to the pavements.

Use your mouse to drag and scroll around the video screen for the full 360 degree experience.

Video Transcription

“We’re standing in Piazza Navona, this is the most famous Piazza in all of Rome. In antiquity this was a stadium, a sports field for the Emperor Domitian, so it was a long, thin structure which had a curvilinear shape on one end and a rectilinear shape on the other.

If you look to the right, you can see how the building curves there, and if you look to the left, you can see the straight angles so the buildings of the piazza are built into the ancient walls of a theatre—a great use of how the Romans would repurpose ancient structures.

So you’re standing in an ancient sports field which is now a piazza, with a gorgeous fountain by Gian Lorenzo Bernini just behind me—one of the most famous architects and artists in the city, and probably the second most famous fountain in Rome. Then behind that you have the church of Francesco Borromini, the other great architect of the Baroque period in the city, and kind of Bernini’s rival—but here they are side by side, hopefully as friends, as we enjoy this beautiful spot in the city.”

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