"Palazzo Barberini, Triton & Api Fountain In Piazza Barberini, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 3rd June 2011
The original name of this square was "Piazza Grimana", taken from cardinal Grimani, who's vine-yards and villa were in this zone. When the Barberini acquired their palace here, the square's name changed. While the first one is still in the middle of Piazza, the Fountain of the Bees (heraldic symbol of the Barberini) was demolished after 1870 to give way for the traffic of Via Sistina. Palazzo Barberini was designed by Maderno and built on the site of the previous Villa Sforza, for Matteo Barberini, who became pope with the title of Urban VIII. On Maderno’s death in 1629, Gian Lorenzo Bernini took control of construction. The fountain of the Api (Bees) was built in1644 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Triton Fountain was commissioned by Urban the Eighth Barberini (1623-1644) and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between the end of 1642 and the first half of 1643.
The original name of this square was "Piazza Grimana", taken from cardinal Grimani, who's vine-yards and villa were in this zone. When the Barberini acquired their palace here, the square's name changed. The new owners ordered G.L.Bernini two fountains: Fontana del Tritone and Fontana delle Api (1642-1644). While the first one is still in the middle of Piazza, the Fountain of the Bees (heraldic symbol of the Barberini) was demolished after 1870 to give way for the traffic of Via Sistina. It was reconstructed in 1920 on the angle of the square and Via Veneto. Here Palazzo Barberini is a palace in Rome, facing the piazza of the same name in Rione Trevi and is home to the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica.
Piazza Barberini occupies the area of the ancient circus of Flora, where floral games took place in May to celebrate springtime. Placed in a depression and inhabited already in the first centuries of the empire, it filled with villas and gardens during the 16th century. With the strada Felice (today Via Sistina) it became an urban space and between the last decade of the 19th century and the first of the 20th century, it took a modern look thanks to the opening of the Via Veneto and the Via Regina Elena, now Via Barberini. It is one of the nerve centres of the city. The square owes its name to Palazzo Barberini, here located. At its centre is the beautiful Fontana del Tritone by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1632-37). More details: Palazzo Barberini - National Gallery of Ancient Art
The fountain was commissioned by Urban the Eighth Barberini (1623-1644) and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between the end of 1642 and the first half of 1643. It is sculpted in travertine blocks. Four dauphins emerging from the centre of the pond with their mouths open and their tails intertwined support a huge two-valve shell. Two papal coats of arms of Urban the Eighth are placed on the tails of the dauphins.
The figure of a triton stands above the shell, clenching its two valves in his powerful hands,with his head bent backwards in the act of blowing in a buccina (Roman horn) held upwards with both arms that pours water.The work is a celebration of the Barberini family connected with the palace lying behind it. It enhanced the square that still had a “suburban” appearance on the edge of the main road Strada Felice (today Via Sistina and Via delle Quattro Fontane), as shown in prints of the time. Life around the fountain was very lively, to the extent that many foreign artists chose to have their residence in the surroundings of Piazza Barberini at the beginning of the past century.
The fountain of the Api (Bees) was built in1644 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It was originally situated at the corner between Via Felice (today Via Sistina) and Piazza Barberini, and leaned against the small palace owned by Nicolò Soderini. It was used to water the horses, using the water drained from the nearby fountain of the Triton, of which it became a sort of appendage.
The fountain was demolished for traffic requirements in 1865 and its fragments were deposited in the depots of the Municipality, where they remained for several decades. In 1915 it was rebuilt by Adolfo Apolloni, sculptor and Spokesman for the Fine Arts of the Municipality of Rome, at the corner of Via Veneto, no longer leaning against the building, but isolated and supported by travertine blocks. The original fountain by Bernini consisted of a large shell with the valves open. One was horizontal and acted as a basin, while the other leaned against the corner of palazzo Soderini and bore an inscription dedicated to Urban the Eighth Barberini (1623-1644).
Three bees, symbol of the Barberini family, placed on the upper part of the hinge poured water. The modern reconstruction has greatly altered the appearance of the monument. It consists of a lower part with a round and channelled basin that is modern, like the upper valve. The only fragment of the fountain by Bernini that survives is one of the bees. Furthermore, travertine resulting from the demolition of Porta Salaria was used for the work, instead of the original marble from Luni. The inscription was put together by D’Onofrio. It says: “Il Sommo Pontefice Urbano VIII, costruita una fontana a pubblico ornamento dell’Urbe, a parte fece fare questo fontanile per uso dei cittadini nell’anno 1644, ventunesimo del suo pontificato” (The Supreme Pontiff Urban the Eighth, after building a fountain for the public decoration of the Eternal City, built this separate fountain for the use of the citizens in the year 1644, the twentieth of his papacy).
Location, Contact and other details about Palazzo Barberini, Fontana del Tritone & delle Api (Triton & Api Fountain); Visit: National Gallery of Ancient Art of Barberini PalaceAs you visit 'Palazzo Barberini, Triton & Api Fountain In Piazza Barberini, Rome' you may also like following articles . . .