Fontala del Moro on Piazza Navona in Rome
Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in the centre of Rome. In 86 CE, emperor Domitian commissioned this square with its unique, elongated shape. This shape is the result of its original function as the stadium for athletics competitions (Circus Agonalis) with stands for 20,000 spectators. Pope Innocent even organised so-called ‘water games’ during the hot summer months, for which the whole square was put under water. After the fall of the Roman Empire, houses were built where the stands used to be, but the long athletics field remained free of buildings and would later become Piazza Navona.
A number of unique buildings was added to the square in the 17th century. For instance, pope Innocent X commissioned the construction of the church Sant’Agnese in Agone, a palace, and he commissioned Bernini to build the fountain ‘La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi’ (The Fountain of the Four Rivers, the four statues representing the Donau, Ganges, Nile and Rio de la Plata). The 16-metre high obelisk of the fountain originally came from the Circus of Maxentius located on the Via Appia.