Rome - A Capital with the most Monumental Fountains

"Rome - A Capital with the most Monumental Fountains" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 10th June 2011

Rome - A Capital with the most Monumental Fountains, Italy

Rome (Roma) is undoubtedly one of the capital with the most monumental fountains. There are 450 artistic fountains, as well as 2,350 small cast iron fountains. The Fontana di Trevi, which is located in the piazza of the same name, is undoubtedly one of the most famous and spectacular. The architect Nicola Salvi, who constructed the fountain between 1732 and 1762, wanted to build it in a very small square in order to emphasise its wonderful effect.

The fountain backs onto Palazzo Poli; it is preceded by a small scene which projects forward, as if it were a theater. Everyone knows about the ritual of throwing a coin over your shoulder into the basin of the fountain if you want to express the desire to return to Rome. The Fontana del Tritone is in the centre of Piazza Barberini, this is Gian Lorenzo Bernini's masterpiece. It was constructed in about 1642.

A triton is blowing into a shell, this is a proclamation to the world of the fame of the noble Barberini family. The triton is supported by four dolphins. Piazza della Repubblica is the scene of the scenographic Fontana delle Naiadi, the work of the sculpture Mario Rutelli, who completed the work in 1901. At Piazza San Bernardo there is the Fontana del Mosè, it is located at the end of the Felice acquaduct. The name of the aquaduct comes from pope Sisto V, Felice Peretti, who renovated the ancient Alexandrian acquaduct.

The monument shows Moses in the act of making water gush from a rock. It is in homage to the pope who restored the acquaduct. There is a small, but priceless fountain between Piazza Barberini and Via Veneto: La Fontana delle Api (The Wasps Fountain). This was sculpted by Bernini in 1644 to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary of pope Urbano VIII's pontificate. It consists of three wasps situated on the clasp of an open double-valve shell. The Fontana della Barcaccia is situated at the foot of the Trinità dei Monti steps. It is the work of Pietro Bernini, he is thought to have constructed the fountain together with his famous father in around 1629. Tradition has it that pope Urbano VIII Barberini wanted the fountain to be in the shape of semi-submerged boat as a memory of a boat which remained stranded in the piazza during a flood in 1598. The truth is that the idea of depicting a half-sunken boat allowed Bernini to resolve a technical problem caused by the low water pressure, which meant having to construct a fountain below ground level.

At number 54 Via Margutta, there is the Fontanella degli Artisti. This street has been the location of the studios of numerous foreign and Italian artists. This fountain is one of a series of small neighborhood fountains constructed by the Pietro Lombardi from 1927 onwards. Each fountain has references to objects which are symbolic to the area where it is located. The Fontana della Pigna (pinecone) for the Pigna area (Piazza San Marco), the Triregno (the pope's tiara) for the Vatican (Largo del Colonnato), one with amphorae for Testaccio (Piazza Testaccio), and one with a rudder for the Ripa district (Lungotevere Ripa).

Four different itineraries are necessary to illustrate the fountains of Rome if one does not want to neglect the less famous ones which are nevertheless an essential element of Roman architecture.

  1. From the Fountain of the Naiads in Piazza della Repubblica the itinerary will reach the Fountain of Moses which was created in the 16th century to serve as "display", i.e. the terminal part, of the Felice aqueduct. Not far from there, the famous Triton's fountain and the fountain of the Bees both Bernini's masterpieces.
  2. This second itinerary includes the well-known Trevi fountain erected in the 18th century in Piazza di Trevi and will continue towards Piazza di Spagna where one can admire the 17th century Barcaccia by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The visit will end in Piazza del Popolo after a short walk along Via del Babuino, which owes its name to a small fountain.
  3. Starting from Piazza Navona, famous for the magnificent marble group of Bernini's fountain of the Rivers, the visit will include the fountain of Piazza della Rotonda (Pantheon) and, on Via degli Staderari, a small but impressive fountain with an ancient basin coming from Nero's Baths. Finally, on Via Lata, Il Facchino, the porter, a little and beloved fountain of all the Romans.
  4. This last itinerary includes La Pigna in Piazza Venezia and, up in Piazza dell'Ara Coeli, the 16th century fountain by Giacomo Della Porta. By the same artist the fountain in Piazza Campitelli and the beautiful Turtles fountain in Piazza Mattei.

Fountains of Rome 3

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