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Walking down a golden Roman alley in the evening, the sound of water, of music, of laughter fills your ears. Then, turning a corner, emerges the beautifully Baroque, Piazza Navona the main piazza in Rome.
A guide could go on at length about the history here. Built on an ancient Roman stadium site, the piazza still holds its shape fit for chariot races. Baroque masters filled the lovely place with playful fountains fed by aqueducts. Stories of Bernini and Borromini’s rivalry add a bit of drama to the scene… but that is for a different article.
Today’s piazza capitalizes on its oblong shape to fill the area with life. Merchants set up stands in the center and bargain with tourists on the cost of their prints of Rome. Artists capture the faces of those wanting more than a photograph to remember the moment. Street performers entertain locals and tourists alike.
At the cafes, one can sip a cocktail in the colors of the Italian flag and watch the show that is life in Piazza Navona.
I prefer to stroll, and enjoy, gelato in hand.
What fun it is to watch life unfold here, and even to close your eyes for a second just to listen.
Even if it has been a few years, as you approach Piazza Navona you can hear it, and almost feel the playful joy before you even see the fountains.
Linger a while until you can grab a seat on a bench and give yourself some time to soak it all in. I love to focus on the locals, who love, and at times love to hate the chaotic scene.
Last time I was there, there was a street performer, one of the ones who dress up and pose as if they’re sitting on air. Around him was a crowd of tourists and children trying to figure out how he was managing to sit like that.
In the middle of the scene, here comes an Italian man, who expressed his disdain, “Bastardo!” Some words need no translation! We laughed and laughed.
A visit to Piazza Navona without laughter is impossible. It is to me the essence of Rome. History, beauty, music, laughter, friendship, and romance. Passion, that bubbles up from the fountains to the people, and fills our hearts with eternal love for this eternal city.
Take a minute to watch and listen, then contact us to plan your trip to Rome!
Lindsay Sinko, Passion for Italy Travel, USA