Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places in the center of Rome. Its current aspect is a consequence of the patronage from one of the most well-known patrician families, the Pamphilis. Through it, they wanted to celebrate their nobility, which had been overshadowed by the political and social rise of their rival families, the Farneses and Barberinis.
Piazza Navona was built on the site of an ancient arena, built by the Emperor Domitian in the first century AD, and it actually kept its original form. The arena was used for different sporting events and also public gatherings. Once a year (almost always in August) it was flooded with cold water, coming from the aqueducts nearby in order to bring refreshment to the people during the hottest days of summer. Maybe this is the reason why the legend according to which naval battles were played in it was born; nowadays the legend is still passed on, but there are very few track records. Piazza Navona is a beautiful, romantic, and a lively place, full of art and history, and it is a constant destination for tourists and esthetes. However, it is mainly during the festive season that Piazza Navona attracts thousands of visitors to the market held there from December , which has turned into a tradition of the Eternal City. Kids stroll around the stands, trying to find toys or candies to make Christmas happier and merrier. According to the tradition, parents buy toys that the kids will find in colored, embroidered stockings in the night between January 5th and 6th, on the occasion of the “Befana” celebration; she is an old lady who, according to the Italian traditions, rides a broom and enters all houses, to leave gifts for the good children and coal for the rascals.