One of my favorite things to do in cities is to simply walk around and enjoy its street culture — like the graffiti we’ve discovered while exploring Paris and Los Angeles. I also love watching street performers, especially in extraordinary settings, which I saw during my recent trip in Italy.

In the summer months Italians stay out late enjoying a respite from daytime heat and converge in the country’s many public spaces. Perhaps the most happening and scenic spot to see street performers is the Piazza Navona in Rome after dark.

Piazza Navona lies in the heart of Rome and was built on top of an ancient Roman stadium. Outdoor seating spills into the square from ground level restaurants that ring the long oval piazza. At the center of the square, waters splash playfully from one of Bernini’s greatest fountains into pools of water below. The fountain sits in front of an impressive church designed by Bernini’s rival, Borromini.

And at night, buskers, painters, vendors, whole bands, and myriad of other street artists perform for the crowds under the stars. The beautiful Baroque architecture and fountains are lit up at night and act as the perfect backdrop for the informal stage. Crowds ebb and flow from one performer to the next as tourists mingle with locals alike. It is magical.

Did I mention there was a fire dancer?

One tip: like in any crowded area where tourists may be distracted, be aware of your pockets and purses.

— Laura Rowley


Written by Laura Rowley

I am an artist, flight attendant, and travel blogger.


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