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    The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno) is a wonderful fountain in Bologna, made by Giambologna in the 16th century, located in the square dedicated to the same deity of the sea.



    The Fountain of Neptune is, in fact, a collaborative project of Zanobio Portigiani, Tommaso Laureti and Giambologna, commissioned by the vice-minister Pier Donato Cesi to glorify the papal government of Pope Pius IV.

    The purpose of the fountain was to embellish the new Piazza del Nettuno, adjacent to the beautiful Piazza Maggiore.

    The project was assigned on August 2, 1563, to the Bolognese architect Zanobio Portigiani, to the Palermitan architect Tommaso Laureti, who was delegated to execute the architectural structure of the fountain, and finally to the Flemish Mannerist sculptor Giambologna (Jean Boulogne), commissioned to build the bronze statue of Neptune and the sculptural parts.

    The Fountain of Neptune was completed in 1566.

    In 1604, a high fence was built around the fountain, which effectively managed to prevent acts of vandalism. The fence was removed by the city’s administration only in 1888.

    Throughout its history, the Neptune fountain has undergone numerous restorations. A first restoration took place in 1708 by the hand of the custodian Carlo Fagottini, who patched the most cracks.

    New repairs were carried out in 1728 by the architect Francesco Maria Angelini and in 1762 by Rinaldo Gandolfi.

    The monument was the object of further restoration in 1907 by the hand of the sculptor Enrico Barberi, who cleaned the surface of the fountain, seriously compromised.

    The first restoration conducted with modern scientific methods began in February 1988, under the supervision of Giovanni Morigi and Ottorino Nonfarmale, and lasted for about two years.

    New renovations became necessary in 2016 and are still a work in progress.

    Fountain of Neptune, Bologna



    The basin of the fountain, made of local sandstone covered with Verona marble, stands on a base with three steps.

    At the center of the basin, there is a pedestal flanked by four Nereids holding their breasts. The pedestal is decorated with pontifical emblems and four angels holding dolphins, in reference to the rivers Ganges, Nile, Amazon and Danube.

    On the pedestal, about 3.2 meters in height, stands the majestic figure of Neptune, with his left hand extended, as if he wanted to calm the waves.


    TIP: To discover the most important tourist attractions of Bologna, take a waking tour through the streets of the historical center of the city.



    The Fountain of Neptune is located about 1.4 kilometers away from the Bologna Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop, Piazza Maggiore, is located about 120 meters away, on the bus lines 29, A, C and T2.

    If you are on foot and you need precise directions to the fountain, use the map below.

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