Navona, Pantheon Apartments

Piazza Navona:
The square has very ancient origins. Its first name was Domitian Stadium (in Italian Stadio di Domiziano). It was built by the Emperor Domiziano in 85 aD. It was mostly used for horseback riding races but even for other “non-violent” sports as the ones set at the Circus Maximus or at the Coliseum. There was place for about 30.000 people.

The Pantheon (Santa Maria ad Martyres – Christian name):
By Agrippa’s will, the Pantheon (temple of all Gods) was built in 27 bC. It was partly damaged by the Big Fire (64 aD) and repaired by Emperor Adrian in the III century. The Emperor re-wrote the original inscription which is still on the frontage: M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIVM.FECIT ("Built by Marco Agrippa, Lucius’ son, for the third time consul")
In the VII century the temple was converted in Christian church and was called Santa Maria ad Martyres. This changed radically the interior of the temple but thank to this action it was preserved by the next centuries’ urbanization which demolished most of the roman’s temples to build the “modern” places of cult.

As a popular commercial would say: “coming to Piazza Navona on the 6th of January…priceless”. Most of Rome’s old tradition like the Roman Carnival with the horseback riding race in Via del Corso are lost, but fortunately this is not. The atmosphere is unique, there’s a big party. I actually don’t know anybody who didn’t like it! Dozens of stands with typical Christmas pastries, jugglers, acrobats, handicraft exhibitions and more. Tourists and Romans, young and old people, everybody mingles with the crowd and enjoys the show.

Piazza Navona and the Pantheon get pretty quiet at night unlike the close Campo de’ Fiori which gets wild. The visitor can just chill with a glass of wine, maybe in one of the bars on the squares, chatting with a friend, a relative or a stranger and sometimes he can take a look around, just to remember that he’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful things that mankind has ever made.