Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

Centro Storico

Piazza Navona's flamboyant centrepiece, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is an ornate, showy work. Completed in 1651, it features a tapering Egyptian obelisk and four muscular personifications of the rivers Nile, Ganges, Danube and Plate, representing the four continents of the then-known world.

Legend has it that the Nile figure is shielding his eyes to avoid looking at the Chiesa di Sant'Agnese in Agone, designed by Bernini's bitter rival Borromini. In truth, Bernini had completed his fountain two years before Borromini started work on the church, and the gesture simply indicated that the source of the Nile was unknown at the time.