Normally in most Italian cities, we would tell our groups to stay off the main streets & squares because you pay more and get less quality.
Piazza Navona is one exception. This is a beautiful square known to many now, from the Angels and Demons movie (the fountain scene) please note movie fans – you will NEVER see the square so empty as you do in the movie (unless it’s in the middle of the night)!
There’s a lovely atmosphere in the square (not so much in winter) & it is also romantic for couples. That’s not to say only couples should come here and dine. There are buskers singing and/or playing guitar & painters selling their work – sadly there are now also annoying people who try to sell you stupid cheap toys that have nothing to do with Italy. During December, markets are held on this square selling mostly Christmas items.
It’s the one place I do tell people to sit on the square because most restaurants have good food without being too overpriced. I’m not recommending one place in particular, just the square and the area itself. If being on the square doesn’t appeal; there’s plenty of choices on the tiny streets just off the square or behind.
I also practice what I preach – coincidentally, my parents, Aunt & Uncle were here on their tour the same night as my tour was in Rome & had a free night for dinner. Piazza Navona was the only place I thought to bring them when I showed them this beautiful city & will be one of my lasting memories of Rome after 40+ times of being there. Great company, a great atmosphere (in a historical square) and great food…they are mostly the reasons people travel to Italy for right?
By Petula Shaw-Dennis, Contiki Tour Manager.