Saturday, March 31, 2012

Piazza Navona & Piazza del Popolo

Piazza Navona

The oval square was created in the 15th century, built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian from the 1st century AD.
In the center, in front of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone by Borromini, is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) commissioned by Pope Innocent X, designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini and completed in 1651. 
The four figures represent the rivers Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio della Plato.

At the southern end is the Fontana del Moro and at the northern end is the Fontana del Nettuno both designed by Giacomo della Porta in the 16th century. 
The statues of Neptune surrounded by nymphs were added to the northern fountain in the 19th century and Bernini added to the other statue of the Moor wrestling a dolphin in 1673.

Piazza del Popolo (People's Square) is a large oval square that holds three churches and once was a place for public executions until the 19th century.
Inside the Porta del Popolo, in the Aurelian Wall, is the Renaissance church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
At either side of the entrance to Via del Corso, which runs through the heart of Rome, is Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto.
The square was redesigned in the 16th century with stairs to the Pincian Hill of ancient Rome and the Villa Borghese gardens.
In the centre of the square is a fountain, designed around an Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II, brought to Rome in 10 b.c. for The Circus Maximus and moved to the piazza in the 16th century on the request of Pope Sixtus V.

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for the metro, trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once validated start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki