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The Stadium of Domitian was constructed in the late 80s AD in the Campus Martius to accommodate Greek athletic competitions. It possibly replaced the Augustan stadium built in wood in the Campus Martius (Dio 53.1.5).  

The structure was massive, holding up to 30,000 spectators on two levels, seated along the track almost 200 m long X 50 m.  The structure was 275 m long, 100 m wide, and up to 20-30 m high. When the Colosseum was damaged in a fire in 217, the stadium was the replacement venue for gladiatorial competitions for a number of years.  In the medieval period, people began constructing atop the seating, leaving the arena empty, and eventually there was the construction of 17C Pamphilj Palazzo and S. Agnese Church (saint who was martyred in the stadium).  Some of the ancient substructures on the northern end were revealed during the 1930s. 

The piazza boasts three magnificent fountains.  The central one is Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain (1651) that reuses the obelisk from the Villa of Maxentius. 

Explore further:

Where in Rome is Piazza Navona?

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Piazza Navona” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 10/24/2019.


Created by The American Institute of Roman Culture, published on 10/24/2019 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.