been restored and painstakingly kept alive.
A short walk from the Pantheon, you will find Piazza Navona, an oblong square with three fountains. In the centre is the Fountain of Four Rivers (Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio del Platas) by 17th century sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The stadium was known as Circus Agonalis (competition arena), which then became ‘n'Agona’ and eventually Navona. In addition to a market, processions and spectacles were held here – including ‘naumachiae’ or mock naval battles when the stadium was flooded with water.
Another short walk and you reach the famed Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, which were constructed in the 1720s. The steps lead to the Piazza di Spagna where to the left, you'll see the Keats Shelley Museum, an homage to the two poets, who spent their final years in Italy.
Nearby in the centre of Piazza del Popolo, site of the one of ancient Rome's northern gate you'll see an ancient Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome in 10 BC by Emperor Augustus. The highlight of the piazza is the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo which was the setting for author Dan Brown's pre-Da Vinci Code novel, Angels and Demons.
A unique tourist stop is the La Bocca della Verità or the Mouth of Truth, a marble sculpture of a man-like face, located in the portico of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin opposite the Temple of Hercules on the banks of the river Tiber that flows through the city. It was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. The Mouth of Truth was made famous in the 1953 film Roman Holiday starring Katherine Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
A peep into the past
Rome is an archaeological delight and one can spend hours walking around ancient sites that have been restored and opened to the public. Vicus Caprarius or The City of Water is one such site just south of the Piazza di Trevi which was uncovered in 1999 during construction of the Cineteca Nazionale's Sala Alberto Sordi