Did you know Rome has more fountains than any other city in the world? There are over two thousand fountains scattered over the city, with fifty standing as major monuments and others varying in size and importance. Rome’s love of fountains started as a necessary civic improvement before the first century when the major fountains, hundreds of public wash basins, the villas, the baths plus Imperial household were supplied by the two aqueducts carrying water from heights outside the city. These fountains were repaired or re-built over the years and new ones added. Today you can not venture far through the streets without coming upon a fountain.
Here are few of the fountains you may see on your visit to this city.
One of the most iconic fountains in Rome is the Trevi Fountain, a grand masterpiece that has captured the imagination of visitors for centuries. As you approach the fountain, the sound of rushing water grows louder, heightening the anticipation of the spectacle that awaits you. The sheer size and intricate details of the Trevi Fountain are breathtaking. Adorned with mythical figures such as the central Oceanus, Tritons and Sea Nymphs, it stands as a testament to the skill and artistry of the Baroque period. It was built, beginning in 1730 on the foundations of a prior fountain, as a tribute to three popes all of whom were instrumental in its existence. It is one of the more visited attractions in Rome so if you wish to get a photo in front of this fountain without hordes of people doing the same, arrive before dawn Legend has it that if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to Rome.
Trevi Fountain (Compass Media)
Fontana del Baraccia (Compass Media)
Fountain of the Four Rivers
Another remarkable fountain in Rome is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or Fountain of the Four Rivers, located in the center of PiazzaNavona. Designed by the renowned sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X, this fountain is a masterpiece of the Baroque era. The central feature of the fountain is an imposing Egyptian obelisk, surrounded by four colossal statues representing the four major rivers of the continents known at the time: the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, and the Rio de la Plata.
This fountain is not the only one to be fount in Piazza Navona. At one end is the Neptune fountain with Neptune as the central figure spearing an octopus. He is surrounded by mermaids and sea horses. This fountain dates back to the late-1500’s. At the opposite end of the Piazza, is La Fontana del Moro, which has an ocean mythical theme as well.
Up Close View of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
La Fontana del Moro
Fontana Del Pantheon
A visit to the Piazza della Rotonda would not be complete without a stop at the Fontana del Pantheon. Nestled in the shadow of the magnificent Pantheon, this modest yet elegant fountain exudes a sense of tranquility. Its design is attributed to Giacomo Della Porta, a pupil of Michelangelo. The fountain consists of a simple basin adorned with reliefs depicting dolphins. Its unassuming charm perfectly complements the grandeur of the Pantheon, providing a serene space for reflection amidst the bustling city.
Pantheon at Night with Fountain
Up Close View of the Fountain at the Pantheon
Fountains at Villa Borghese
Fountain of Venus
For those seeking a peaceful retreat from the urban chaos, a visit to Villa Borghese is a must. Within this expansive park lies the stunning Fontana dei Pupazzi, also known as the Fountain of the Dolls. This whimsical fountain depicts four cherubic figures surrounding a central basin, with water playfully spouting from their mouths. There are also other fountains on the grounds including the Fountain of Venus and the Fountain of Sea Horses. The tranquil setting and the harmonious sound of water make the Villa a delightful spot to rest and recharge amidst the lush greenery of its park.
Fountain of Sea Horses, Villa Borghese
Fountain in St. Peter’s Square
And More Fountains …
Other notable fountains throughout the city are the ones at Saint Peter’s Square, the Fontana della Pigna, the Fontana della Barcaccia (at the base of the Spanish Steps), Fontana delle Api, Fontana del Obelisco, and many, many more.
Rome’s fountains are not only breathtaking pieces of art but also serve as vital sources of water for the city. They have provided refreshment and sustenance for centuries, quenching the thirst of both locals and weary travelers. As you wander the streets of Rome, you will encounter countless smaller fountains known as nasoni, which means “big noses” in Italian. These public drinking fountains provide fresh, clean water and are a testament to Rome’s commitment to public welfare and the preservation of its ancient traditions.
A Spouting Lion on the Fountain of Moses
Plan Your Visit to Rome
Visiting the fountains of Rome is a journey through time, art, and culture. Each fountain tells a unique story, reflecting the city’s illustrious past and its dedication to beauty. As a tourist, exploring these fountains will leave you with a profound appreciation for the artistry, history, and spirit of Rome. Let the discovery of each fountain lead you from place to place across this city. This is just another way to experience the majesty of Rome.
Before visiting this popular city, it is recommended to employ the services of a travel expert to either design a custom tour of the area, book a guided tour or arrange a pre-or post cruise stay, and travel worry-free! Check out our Tips For Rome for some firsthand advice that may aid in getting the most out of your visit.
All images courtesy of Bigstock unless indicated otherwise. Article first appeared on Real Travel Experts.