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Top 5 most famous and iconic fountains of Rome
The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain of Rome and probably one of the most famous fountains in the world, especially after Anita Ekberg bathed in the fountain in the Fellini movie La Dolce Vita.
Designed by Nicola Salvi in a style inspired by Bernini, the fountain took 30 years to complete. The original plans for the Trevi fountain had been designed by Bernini, but when Urbano VIII, his commissioner, died in 1644, Bernini fell in disgrace and the project was halted for 60 years. It was taken over by Nicola Salvi under the papacy of Clement XII, but it was not until 3 decades later that the Trevi fountain could finally be inaugurated by Pope Clement XIII.
The main theme of the Trevi fountain is the sea, with as central statue Ocean (or Neptune). Next to Ocean, who rides a shell-shaped chariot pullet by two sea horses and two tritons, stand Salubrity and Abundance (health and well being). The two horses, a calm one and a wild one, represent the two states of the sea.
The name of the fountain is believed to derive from tre vie, referring to the three roads that converge on the eponymous square. Another explanation is that the place was named after the young virgin Trivia who discovered the spring that was used to bring water to Rome through a long canal called Acqua Vergine. As we saw above, it was Clement XII who subsequently commissioned Nicolà Salvi to adorn the end of the canal with a majestic fountain.
Located at the center of the beautiful Piazza Navona, the Fountain of the Four Rivers was commissioned in 1651 by Pope Innocent X, whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphilj, faced onto the piazza.
The four river Gods, which are the protagonists of the fountain of the four rivers represent the four continents then known: the Danube (Europe), the Rio de la Plata (the Americas), the Nile (Africa) and the Ganges (Asia). To complete the four allegorical characters, Bernini sought the help of several sculptors: Claude Poussin for the Ganges, Giacomo Antonio Fancelli for the Nile, Antonio Raggi il Lombardo for the Danube and Francesco Baratta for the Rio della Plata.
Created by Taddeo Landini in 1581-1584, probably after a design by Giacomo Della Porta, the late Renaissance fountain was supposed to include four dolphins instead of the four turtles.
However, during restoration works led by Bernini in 1658, the empty spaces left by the missing dolphins were filled with four turtles, a recurrent subject of Bernini, which were already used on the Palazzo Barberini fountain. The turtles are so well integrated into the fountain that it is hard to believe that they were added only a century later!
Better known as the Fontanone del Gianicolo (big fountain on the Janiculum Hill), the Fontana dell’acqua Paola, is THE Roman fountain par excellence. Designed by Giovanni Fontana, the fountain originally had five ponds. They were changed into one single pond in 1690, based on a design made by Bernini for the Trevi fountain that was never carried out.
The Fontana delle Anfore on Piazza del Emporio was designed by the architect Pietro Lombardi for the newly defined official rione Testaccio in the 1920s.
The amphora is intrinsically linked to the history of Testaccio and the origin of its name. Indeed, it was in this area on the left bank of the Tiber that the clay amphorae which were used to transport wine and oil into Rome, were stored once they had been emptied in Rome. With the passing of decades, the shards had accumulated to form a 35 meter high hill, which came to be known as Mons Testaceus. Not surprisingly, when the area officially became the twentieth district of Rome, it chose the amphora as its symbol.