Fountains of Rome

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  • Jeux d’eau

    “The fountains are enough to justify a trip to Rome”: a tour of the most beautiful ones

    “The fountains are enough to justify a trip to Rome” declared the great English poet Shelley during his Roman sojourn, fascinated by the beauty of the eternal city’s fountains. In elegant courtyards, the grounds of ancient and noble villas, along the streets of Rome or the Vatican, isolated and solitary, in small urban gardens and piazzas, Rome’s fountains represent a fundamental element of this city. 

    We start from the most iconic: the Trevi Fountain. Immortalized by Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in the cult film La dolce vita, it not needs no introduction and is just a few steps from our Hotel d’Inghilterra Roma - Starhotels Collezione.

    At the foot of one of the world’s most celebrated staircases, the Spanish Steps, is the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat), built in 1626 by Pietro Bernini and commissioned by Urban VIII. Completed in 1629, the fountain originally stood in the piazza prior to the construction of the famous staircase. Young Gian Lorenzo also participated in its construction.

    In Piazza Barberini we come to the Fontana del Tritone (Triton Fountain) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, built between 1642 and 1643. Made entirely from Travertine, this fountain features a triton kneeling on a large shell and blowing into another shell, out of which water flows, while propped up by four dolphins.

    In the small piazza Mattei is an unusual and gracious fountain called “Delle Tartarughe” (“The Turtles”), built by Giacomo della Porta in 1581. Although not one of the city’s most monumental, this fountain is worth highlighting not only for the fineness of the piece but also for the popular legend associated with it: Duke Mattei, whose palazzo is right off this piazza, meaning to impress his future father-in-law (who did not want to agree to the duke’s marriage to his daughter), had this fountain constructed in only one night. He invited his future bride and her father to a window in the palace to admire the work, and then, as to prevent anyone else from admiring the view onto the fountain, had the window bricked up, as it still is today.

    Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), one of the most impressive and famous of the city. Designed and modelled by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1648 and 1651, and commissioned by Pope Innocent X, this fountain is located in the centre of Piazza Navona and supports an Egyptian obelisk that originates from Circus Maximus.

    Finally, in the centre of Piazza Farnese are two magnificent fountains: two large granite tubs that originated from the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla. The first was installed by Paul III around the mid-sixteenth century. The second basin was installed under Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, forty years after the first. Both tubs were transformed into fountains, by Girolamo Rainaldi in 1626.