6 Fountains You Really Must See in Rome
06 May, 2016
On our first visit to Rome we were struck by the sheer number of fountains we came across on our walks. I don’t mean just the monumental type – and there are some very beautiful ones – but the public drinking fountains located all over the old city which are ideal for quenching your thirst. After researching the subject we learned that water and its distribution was one of the ancient Romans’ major concerns, leading them to build aqueducts and channelling systems. Much of this must have rubbed off on the subsequent generations who inherited their legacy, prompting them to continue to seek ways of managing such a valuable asset.
Before focusing on the grand monumental fountains – we have made a selection of our favourites, listed below – let’s start by talking about their more modest counterparts, the nasoni. These public drinking fountains date from 1874 and are typically made of iron, cylindrical in form and with a snout-shaped spout; hence they are known as nasoni (nasone, in the singular) which means nose in Italian. Rome has nearly 2,500 and most of them provide clean drinking water which, in the hot summer, is something to be grateful for. One of the oldestnasoniis in the Piazza della Rotonda, near the Pantheon. They are well worth seeking out on your walks and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised on more than one occasion.
Fontana di Trevi
We start with the best known and most widely photographed of them all. Visiting Rome without seeing the Trevi Fountain is like not having been there at all. Don’t expect it to be sited in a huge square – quite the opposite. It defies belief how so much activity and splendour is crammed into the intersection where it is sited. Designed by Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762 – the original preliminary drawings are by Bernini – it was commissioned by Pope Clement II and its central theme is the Taming of the waters.And, yes – go ahead and carry out the ritual of throwing a coin in the fountain, ensuring you will return to this beautiful city. Beware, though, it is strictly forbidden to emulate Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita!
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
The spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers, which is surmounted by a huge Egyptian obelisk from the Roman period, is sited in the Piazza Navona. Around the base are four statues depicting the world’s four main rivers – the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Río de la Plata. This exceptional work by the great Baroque master, Bernini, has two companion fountains on the side – Neptune and the Moor.
Fontana del Tritone
The Triton Fountain is once again the work of the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini, although this time the fountain is rather more modest and yet every bit as beautiful. Located in the Piazza Barberini, very near the Trevi Fountain, it is dedicated to the god, Triton, shown kneeling on the tail-fins of four dolphins and holding up a conch from which spouts a jet of water.
Fontana del Pantheon
Located in the picturesque Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon, this dolphin fountain is popularly known as the Fountain of the Pantheon. It was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII and designed by Giacomo della Porta. Like the previous fountain, the basin acts as the supporting foundation for an obelisk dating from the period of Ramses II.
Two Fountains in the Piazza Farnese
The Piazza Farnese, one of our favourite squares, is the site of two highly original matching fountains set on the sides. They are strikingly shaped like bath-tubs and made of granite taken from the Caracalla Baths.
Fontana della Barcaccia
The Fountain of the Old Boat is located in the Piazza di Spagna, at the foot of the spectacular Spanish Steps. It is the work of Pietro Bernini, the father of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Depicted in stone is a ship which, according to the tradition, was washed down here by a flash flood in the river Tiber.
When visiting Rome, be sure to visit these and many other fountains. Book your Vueling here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
06 May, 2016