Baroque Rome – Navona and Campo

Baroque Rome – Navona and Campo

Called the “Campo Marzio” (Field of Mars), this time-burnished district is the city’s most beautiful neighborhood. Set between Via del Corso and the Tiber bend, it’s filled with narrow streets bearing curious names, airy piazzas, and half-hidden courtyards. Some of Rome’s most coveted residential addresses are nestled here. So, too, are the ancient Pantheon and the Renaissance square of Campo de’ Fiori, but the spectacular, over-the-top Baroque monuments of the 16th and 17th centuries predominate.

campo-marzio

Campo Marzio

The hub of the district is the queen of squares, Piazza Navona—a cityscape adorned with the most jaw-dropping fountain by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, father of the Baroque. Streets running off the square lead to many historic must-sees, including noble churches by Borromini and Caravaggio’s greatest paintings at San Luigi dei Francesi.

This district has been an integral part of the city since ancient times, and its position between the Vatican and Lateran palaces, both seats of papal rule, put it in the mainstream of Rome’s development from the Middle Ages onward. Craftsmen, shopkeepers, and famed artists toiled in the shadow of the huge palaces built to consolidate the power of leading figures in the papal court. Artisans and artists still live here, but their numbers are diminishing as the district becomes increasingly posh and—so critics say—”Disneyfied.” But three of the liveliest piazzas in Rome—Piazza Navona, Piazza della Rotonda (home to the Pantheon), and Campo de’ Fiori—are lodestars in a constellation of some of Rome’s most authentic cafés, stores, and wine bars.

Getting Here and Around

To bus it from Termini train station or the Vatican, take the No. 40 Express or the No. 64 and get off at Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a two-minute stroll from either Campo de’ Fiori or Piazza Navona, or take little electric No. 116 from Via Veneto to Campo de’ Fiori. Buses Nos. 87 and 571 link the area to the Forum and Colosseum. Tram No. 8 runs from Largo Argentina to Trastevere.

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