These 4 Spectacular Water Fountains of Rome capture the progress of Rome, Italy at the peak of its artistic activity in key passages in history, when water fountains were commissioned by popes and marked new chapters in the life of the Romans.
Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma, Italy
The largest most spectacular and probably most well-known Baroque fountain in Rome was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and spanned three successive Popes. The emblems and inscriptions of Pope Clement XII, Pope Benedict XIV, and Pope Clement XIII appear on the Trevi Fountain’s or Fontana di Trevi’s attic story, entablature and central niche. The fountain’s design was carried out by Gian Lorenzo Bernini yet the death of Urbano VIII halted plans.
The Trevi Fountain’s main theme is the ocean or the sea, with Oceanus or Neptune riding an oyster-shaped chariot pulled by two seahorses – one wild and one calm representing the two states of the sea – and surrounded by tritons.
Fountain of the Four Rivers
Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma, Italy
Bernini’s design won the competition. Pope Innocent X commissioned his work in 1651, a fountain at the center of the Piazza Navona in Rome representing the four major rivers in the four continents then known through which papal authority had spread: the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Río de la Plata representing the Americas. Bernini sought the help of sculptors Giacomo Antonio Fancelli for the Nile, Antonio Raggi il Lombardo for the Danube, Claude Poussin for the Ganges, and Francesco Baratta for the Rio della Plata.
The Fountain of the Four Rivers rises from a basin to support the four allegorical characters of the river gods towards a towering obelisk with the Pope’s family emblem of a dove with an olive twig.
Piazza Barberini, 00186 Roma, Italy
Another commission designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini on this 4 Spectacular Water Fountains of Rome list, the Triton Fountain was the master sculptor’s first official commission for a public fountain executed in 1642-1643. The Palazzo Barberini, the residence of its commissioner, was nearby and the Triton Fountain itself contains numerous references to the actual Pope Urban VIII.
In it, a Triton kneels on the tailfins of four dolphins and raises a conchor scallop shell to his lips from which jet spurts of water. The Barberini bees of Urban VIII’s family are entwined amongst the papal tiara and the dolphin’s tails.
Fontanone del Gianicolo or Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
Via Garibaldi, 00153 Roma, Italy
This monumental fountain, designed by Giovanni Fontana, was one of the first when it was built in 1612 to mark the end of the Acqua Paola aqueduct. The “Big Fountain” or “big fountain on the Janiculum Hill,” the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola’s five ponds were unified in 1690 with which water had ran from the five massive archways. Found at the top of the fountain are the papal tiara and keys and the Borghese family coat of arms.
Rome won’t run out of ways to replenish its citizens’ desire for artistry or quench their thirst to beautify their surroundings with these 4 Spectacular Water Fountains of Rome.
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