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In the heart of Campo Marzio there are two of the most beautiful and typical squares of Rome: Piazza Navona, standing on the remains of the Domitianus stadium (of which keeps the shape) and Campo de’ Fiori which was still a meadow (that is why “campo”) with flowers and some cultivated gardens in the Renaissance period. As from the 15th century, in between the two squares many important palaces rose: the Riario Palace, the De Cupis Palace, the Braschi Palace, the Farnese Palace and the Pamphilij Palace only to mention some.
On the occasion of the building belonging to the family of Pope Innocenzo X (from the Pamphilij family), architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini was entrusted with the construction of the spectacular fountain of the Four Rivers (“fontana dei Quattro Fiumi”) while Francesco Borromini was entrusted with the building of “Sant’ Agnese in Agone” church, just opposite to the fountain at the centre of the square.
According to an anecdote of the time, one of the male sculptures at the base of the obelisk was designed by Bernini with a hand raised as to protect itself from the imminent collapse of the façade of the church built by Borromini, as a sort of “revenge”. In fact Bernini, who was the favourite architect of Pope Urbano VIII was excluded by his successor, Pope Innocenzo X who preferred Borromini instead.
Around the two squares several trade activities started over the years: inns (among which the famous “Locanda della Vacca” - literally the “Inn of the Cow”- managed by Vannozza Cattanei who gave four children to Pope Alessandro VI, whose lay name was Rodrigo Borgia), as well as hostels for pilgrims and craftsmen’s workshop like makers of stringed instruments (literally “Liutai”), of booksellers (literally “Librai”) and key-makers (literally “Chiavari”). Nowadays some of the roads around the area bear the names of these craftsmen.
Campo de’ Fiori, the only big Roman square with no church, witnessed stakes of heretics who were condemned: the most known of them was Giordano Bruno and nowadays his statue, erected at the end of 19th century, dominates the centre of the square among the fruit and vegetable stalls. The stalls of spices and delicacies are particularly famous in this popular open market which had been moved from Piazza Navaona in 1869. Between Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona there is a wide selection of places where to eat or drink: from the bars which offer “aperitifs” in the late afternoon, to the typical and small restaurants, up to the pubs,
the wine bars and the disco-bars which bring life and fun to the district. In Piazza Navona you will always find street artists, landscape painters and portraitists exhibiting their works.

Things not to miss :

Archaeology: the remains of the Domitianus stadium beneath Piazza Navona and those of the Pompeum Theatre close to Campo de’ Fiori, and of course the Pantheon that is at walking distance from Piazza Navona.
The Renaissance and Baroque art is represented in this district by all the great masters: the Sybills by Raphael in “Santa Maria della Pace” church, the masterpieces of Caravaggio in “Sant’ Agostino” and “San Luigi dei Francesi” churches, the works by Carracci in the Farnese Palace and the masterpieces at “Galleria Spada”, where you can find the famous prospective illusion gallery of Borromini.