Piazza Navona – The Lovers’ Curse
Piazza Navona is an extraordinary urbanistic complex of Baroque Rome, which has a shape and size derived from the ancient arena of Domitian’s Stadium.
It was Nero who most characterized the area of the present square. It was the famous emperor, in fact, who had a kind of small amphitheater built there that could host the Neronia, the Roman counterparts of the Olympics.
In 86 A.D. or shortly before, Domitian completely transformed the structure envisioned by Nero, resulting in what will go down in history as Domitian’s Stadium. This stadium was about 275 meters long and 106 meters wide and could seat about 30,000 spectators. The stadium was probably used until the fifth century, when Rome’s decline also began.
Many centuries later, in the seventeenth century, Piazza Navona took its present form, becoming an elegant area filled with architectural wonders. Pope Innocent X Pamphilj purchased what is now Palazzo Doria-Pamphilj, which later became the Brazilian Embassy. The pontiff began to consider the square as a kind of private courtyard and called the greatest artists and masters of the Roman Baroque such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and the Rainaldis. The result is still there for all to see today with works of art known all over the world.
But there is not only art that characterizes this place: in fact, there are also many stories and curiosities.
One of the most famous legends states that in times past, a witch decided to put a curse on the Fountain of the Four Rivers. Since then, the curse has been that all lovers who turn counterclockwise around the fountain will break up within six days.