"Fontana (Fountain) di Piazza Colonna, Piazza Colonna, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 29th April 2011
Starting from the Middle Ages and until the 17th century the square was occupied by the old houses. In the middle of them was a Column of Marcus Aurelius, which gave the name to the square. Its present level is seven meters higher than the one of the ancient Rome. In the 18th century it was occupied by the fruit and drink vendors, that were substituted after 1870 by fashionable caffes and restaurants. In one of them, for the first time in Italy, the service was made by waitresses, and not by waiters. Around the column was a scene, where a music band performing daily concerts. With the growth of traffic the square was abandoned. In the 19th century it also served for public and political manifestations and meetings, especially when B.Mussolini used to speak from the balcony of Palazzo Chigi.
Fontana (Fountain) di Piazza Colonna was designed by Giacomo Della Porta and built by the sculptor Rocco Rossi from Fiesole in 1575 and completed in 1577. Beside it is a fountain realized by G.Della Porta in 1575. It is made of a basin decorated with 16 heads of lions, and placed here in 1830 a little central basin with two groups of dolphins.
It presents an octagonal pond with the sides alternatively concave and convex in portasanta marble and decorated by fillets with sixteen white marble lion heads. In 1585 it was fed by the Acqua Vergine. Dalla Porta’s initial project with the fountain leaning against the base of the Colonna Antonina and a background of rocks was never carried out. The project also included the colossal statue of Marforius that today is situated in the courtyard that has its same name in the Capitoline Museums. In 1656 the fountain was subject to a restoration, certainly of minor importance, by Bernini. In 1702 pope Clement the Eleventh Albani (1700-1721) put his coat of arms, the eight-pointed star, on the central basin. In 1830 the star was removed together with the basin and replaced with a work by Alessandro Stocchi that consists of the current white marble basin and two groups of pairs of dolphins with the tails intertwined and a shell.
Some other emperors after Augustus built their monuments in Campus Martius: triumphal arches, temples and etc. One of the most important and survived till our days monuments is the Column of Marcus Aurelius, dedicated to the war victories of the emperor. The column was erected in 180-196 A.D., and has 23 turns of spiral with the relieves, the lower part of which commemorates the war against Germanic tribes (169-173), the upper that against the Sarmatians (174-176), similar to older Column of Trajan. It was also named Colonna Antonina, because of the name of the family to which Marcus Aurelius belonged. It is made of marble from Luni and formed of 27 blocks. Together with the basement, decorated with Victories, festoons and relieves, it reaches 42 meters. Sixtus V in 1588 had the column and its basement restored, and a statue of St Paul places on its top (originally it was occupied by the statue of Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina, but they disappeared). In the Middle Ages, the column was a property of the Convent of St Silvester in Capite, who's monks asked the alms from the pilgrims, wishing to ascend the 200 steps of internal staircase of the column.
Fontana (Fountain) di Piazza Colonna
Piazza Colonna, (Via del Corso)
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Colonna (Pantheon-Montecitorio-Barberini) (Roma centro)
Piazza Colonna is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "37"