I arrive early for the tour hosted by Context Rome (affordable selection of walking tours) and make a round of the piazza. Piazza Navona is alight with activity and it is no wonder Maria has suggested that I have a glass of red wine and observe life unfolding on the square. I feel more like a gelato and kick off the evening with a stracciatella.
There are three fountains in Piazza Navona, with the Four Rivers in the center. The fountain represents the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata and feature gods from each supporting an obelisk (another one, there are reportedly 13 throughout Rome). Behind the fountain is the Church of St. Agnes. Legend has it that Agnes a virgin martyr persecuted for her faith was forced to disrobe at her death scene where upon the 13-year old girl’s hair grew long, overflowing to cover her naked body from onlookers.
Caterina, our docent and native Roman of both Italian and German descent, meets us at 6pm sharp. There are five English-speaking participants waiting outside Ai Sogno, a toyshop on the Piazza Navona: a couple from Miami, a mother and son from Texas and me. She shares stories of Rome as we walk through the piazzas and winding streets, pointing out facades of buildings that upon restoration uncovered frescoes underneath.
Click here for photos from the first day and night.