The fascinating and evocative history of ancient Rome is hidden under the lively, baroque Piazza Navona.
Due to its elegant Baroque layout and its bubbly atmosphere, Piazza Navona is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Rome.
Its oval shape, which is especially obvious when viewed from above, is like that of the ancient Stadium of Domitian, an imposing structure dating back to 85-86 AD and located just below the square, which is built on top of it. It was requested by the emperor Domitian to host athletic competitions and represents the first example of a masonry stadium from the Greco-Roman age.
Our advice is to get away from the cheerful chaos of the square and immerse yourself in this one of a kind journey through time. Walking through the underground corridors with their stairways and archways, it will not be difficult to imagine different scenarios of ancient gymnastic competitions such as running, fighting and boxing.
The route starts in Piazza di Tor Sanguigna, where ancient vestiges are visible due to an opening at street level. The underlying environment is a mix of majestic structures, including arches on pillars, brick walls and staircases, which are all illuminated by an evocative natural light that filters through small strategic lightwells.