PIAZZA NAVONA AND CAMPO DE FIORI
The legend says that the Field of Mars, originally a marshy area often flooded by the Tiber, had been a royal possession of the first kings of Rome, the Tarquins. Then the Tarquins were sent in exile and their property passed to the state that dedicated the area the God of War, Mars. This part of the city laid outside the pomerium, that is the area contained within the legal boundaries of Rome. In strict legal terms all that which was outside of the pomerium was not “Roma”, but simply mere territory. Since no arms or weapons were allowed inside the pomerium, the area where now tourists and visitors come to admire the beauty of Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, there were fields dedicated to military exercises and political events. In the part that now goes under the name of Largo di Torre Argentina (part of the curia where Julius Caesar was killed on March 15, 44 BC) , not far from Campo de Fiori, in the heart of Rome city center, visitors can still admire the ruins of four temples built between the third and second century BC, which reflect the aforementioned civil use. But as the Republic disappears and the Empire grows, the whole Field of Mars gets reorganized: theaters and baths were built to replace military fields, and celebratory buildings are erected for the Emperor and his family. During the golden time of the Empire this was a rich area, abandoned only during the Middle Ages with the invasion of the Barbarians and the fall of the Roman Empire. However, once the popes got back from Avignone, they greatly contributed to rebuild this area, in the middle of which stands the renown piazza of Campo de’ Fiori, literally ‘the field of flowers’, one of the most vibrant and liveliest squares of Rome, as much now as it was then. During your tour of Rome city center you will be able to admire its traditional market (except on Sundays), the oldest in town. The other great piazza that we visit during our city tour, and that makes this area so famous is Piazza Navona, a beautiful elongated square, with curving narrow sides that had been once a stadium (built in the I century AD) for horse races and sport competitions, which could host up to 30,000 people. It still nowadays retains that form. In the middle of Piazza Navona stands the marvelous Fountain of the Four River designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.