Fontana Pretoria is a spectacular fountain located in the heart of the historic centre of Palermo, in the square with the same name, Piazza Pretoria. The fountain is decorated with sculptures of the Twelve Olympians and other mythological and allegorical figures. SHORT HISTORY The fountain was built in 1554, in Florence, by Francesco Camilliani, for the garden of Don Luigi Alvarez de Toledo. In 1573, driven by his debts and about to move to Naples, Don Luigi sold the fountain to the Palermo Senate. The fountain arrived in Palermo on May 26, 1574, disassembled in 644 pieces, with some sculptures being damaged during transport or retained by the previous owner. Therefore, some adaptations were necessary and some pieces were added. The recomposition of the fountain was made by Camillo Camilliani, son of Francesco, with the help of Michelangelo Naccherino, and Fontana Pretoria was finished in 1581. In the 18th and 19th centuries, due to the nudity of statues, the square was popularly known as Piazza della Vergogna (Square of Shame). In November 1998, a restoration work was undertaken, which lasted until November 2003. In December of the same year, the fountain was reopened. ARCHITECTURE The fountain has a Read more [...]
Fonte Gaia is a monumental fountain in Siena, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Campo. SHORT HISTORY The fountain was inaugurated in 1346, and was met with much joy, hence the name Gaia (joyous). The fountain was supplied with water by a hydraulic system consisting of a tunnel about 30 kilometers long and a large cistern, strengthened during the 15th century by Francesco di Giorgio. The fountain was decorated with a series of sculptural reliefs commissioned in 1409 to Jacopo della Quercia, and completed ten years later, in 1419. The weak local marble used for the construction of the fountain contributed, over time, to the material degradation of the monument. In 1859, it was decided to replace Jacopo’s fountain with a copy made of the more durable Carrara marble, commissioned to the Sienese sculptor Tito Sarrocchi. The new fountain was completed only ten years later. On that same occasion, Fonte Gaia was moved to a more central position in the square, and was protected by a gate, work by the architect Giuseppe Partini. The original reliefs, very damaged, were restored and are now in the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala, after being exhibited Read more [...]
Quattro Fontane (Four Fountains) is a beautiful fountain in Taormina, located in Piazza Duomo, in front of the Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari. SHORT HISTORY The fountain was built in 1635 by the Municipality of Taormina, and it became popularly known as Quattro Fontane from the four small columns placed on each corner of the monument, each with its own basin and surmounted by a seahorse from whose mouth the water flowed. Today, only one of the four seahorses is still functional. ARCHITECTURE The fountain has a central body formed by two basins. On the edge of the smaller one, there are four names engraved – Vincenzo Spuches, Vincenzo Cacopardo, Geronimo Mena and Cesare Onion. They are the representatives of the Municipality who ordered the construction of the fountain. In the center of the small basin, a pedestal supports a Centauress, with the crown on her head, who holds a scepter in her right hand and a globe with a cross in her left hand. HOW TO GET THERE Quattro Fontane is located in Piazza Duomo, about 700 meters away from Porta Messina, the main entrance to the historical center of the town, and about 110 Read more [...]
Fontana dell’Amenano is a beautiful fountain in Catania, located in the southern part of Piazza del Duomo, next to Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici and the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. SHORT HISTORY The fountain was built in 1867 by the Neapolitan sculptor Tito Angelini. ARCHITECTURE The fountain consists of a large shell in white Carrara marble, in which stands the statue of the river Amenano, represented as a young man. The statue holds a cornucopia from which water flows into a convex basin. On each side of the statue, there is the sculpture of a triton. The shell rests on a base on which is placed the coat of arms of the city. On the opposite side of the fountain, we can find an emblem that contains the year in which the monument was inaugurated. From the basin of the fountain, the water pours into the underground river Amenano, located about two meters below the square level. Behind the fountain, a lava stone staircase leads to the Pescheria, the ancient city market of Catania. HOW TO GET THERE Fontana dell’Amenano is located about 1.4 kilometers from the Catania Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is located right Read more [...]
Fonte Aretusa is a beautiful fountain in Syracuse, located in the historical center of the city, on the island of Ortygia. According to a legend from Greek mythology, Arethusa was a nymph, daughter of Nereus, who fled from her home beneath the sea, in Arcadia, and became a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia. Inside the pool of the fountain, grows papyrus, Ortygia being one of the two places in Europe where this plant grows, with the other being the Fiumefreddo River, also in Sicily, near Catania. SHORT HISTORY Over the centuries, the fountain undergone several transformations. At first, it was located outside the fortification walls of the city, and could be accessed from the sea through a steep staircase. In the 16th century, the water source was divided into several streams used for tanning leather, which formed a lake of about 200 meters in diameter. In 1540, the fountain was incorporated into the fortifications of the city, when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V strengthened the military structures of Ortygia, to be freed in 1847, when the reservoir took its present form. The viewpoint next to the fountain is what remains of the ancient bastion, demolished Read more [...]
Fontana di Diana is a monumental fountain in Syracuse, located on the Ortygia island, in Piazza Archimede. SHORT HISTORY After the creation of the Archimedes Square in 1878, the Municipality of Syracuse commissioned the sculptor Giulio Moschetti to build a fountain. The sculptor was choosen after his creation in Catania, the beautiful Fountain of Prosepina, received many praise. After the presentation of the preparatory sketch of the fountain, the City Council commissioned the work through a resolution dated February 1, 1906. Giulio Moschetti built the fountain in about ten months, between 1906 and 1907, with the help of his son, the sculptor Mario Moschetti. ARCHITECTURE The fountain faces south and highlights the figure of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, protector of Ortygia in ancient times. The sculpture of Diana holds a bow and is accompanied by a dog, the attributes of the goddess of hunting. At her feet, there is Arethusa, the Nereid who fled from her home in Arcadia, beneath the sea, and according to legend was transformed into a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia. Near Arethusa, her lover, Alpheus, is amazed by what is happening to her. Inside the tank of Read more [...]
Fontana del Commercio (Fountain of Commerce) is a beautiful fountain located in Piazza della Repubblica, the main square of Pizzo Calabro. SHORT HISTORY The project of the fountain was approved on June 16, 1857, by the mayor Emanuele Alcalà, without the possibility of building it in the immediate future, due to lack of funds. The fountain was realized seven years later, in 1864, on a project by the architect Giuseppe Santulli di Monteleone, for an amount of 1029 ducats. For the construction of the fountain was used the granite from the base of an equestrian statue in marble destroyed in 1860. ARCHITECTURE The fountain from Piazza della Repubblica is made of granite, with a shell in the center, containing a stylized dolphin inside. The water comes out of seven nozzles, one placed in the central shell, and the other placed in the mouths of six human and anthropomorphic figures. HOW TO GET THERE Fontana del Commercio is located in Piazza della Repubblica, about 1.4 kilometers away from the Pizzo railway station. To find it on foot, use the map below.
Fontana Storica della Sirena is a beautiful fountain located in the Chianalea district, in Scilla, about 100 meters away from the picturesque Port of Scilla. Of modern construction, the fountain is located in Via Grotte, in a small open space between the buildings. The sculpture recalls the myth of the Scylla mermaid, to which Scilla is closely linked. ARCHITECTURE The fountain’s basin is built in brick and stone. The upper part presents a sculpture of a rock made of concrete, which supports an enamelled terracotta statue depicting a mermaid holding a shell in her hands. Behind this composition, another large shell acts as a background. HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is located about 800 meters away from the Scilla railway station. To find the fountain on foot, use the map below.
Fontana del Genio (Fountain of Genius), formerly called Genio del Molo or Genio della Fieravecchia, is a statue of the 16th century placed on a fountain of the 19th century, located in Piazza Rivoluzione (Revolution Square), in Palermo. The Genius of Piazza Rivoluzione is one of the eight monumental representations of the Genius of Palermo, the ancient tutelary deity of the city. SHORT HISTORY The sculpture of Genius, built in the 16th century by an anonymous sculptor, was originally located on the Fontana del Molo Nuovo (Fountain of the New Pier), in the Port of Palermo. Back then, the statue was called Genio del Molo (Genius of the Pier). In 1687, the statue of Genius was transferred from the Fontana del Molo Nuovo to the Piano della Fieravecchia, the current Piazza Rivoluzione, and placed on a marble pedestal. It was called Genio della Fieravecchia. The square was one of the main scenes of the riots of 1820 and 1848, when the people gathered around the statue to protest against the Bourbons. The revolutionaries dressed the statue in the Italian flag, making it a symbol of Palermo’s desire for freedom. In 1852, in order to avoid this, Carlo Filangieri, a Read more [...]
The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno) is a wonderful fountain made by Giambologna in the 16th century, located in the square dedicated to the same deity of the sea, in Bologna. SHORT HISTORY 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 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 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 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 Read more [...]
Fontana Garibaldi is an ancient fountain dating back to the 15th century, located in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, in Pizzo. About the fountain, known before 1866 as Fontanavecchia (Old Fountain), the locals say it has medicinal water which can cure certain diseases. The water that flows from the fountain has a rusty color, something that can easily be noticed in a glass or other transparent container. Even its taste is ferrous, so probably unpleasant for some people, it is drinkable and has healing qualities. SHORT HISTORY In 1735, Ilario Tranquillo, the author of a book on the ancient Napizia (today’s Pizzo), was talking about the presence of about 80 water springs scattered throughout the territory of the town, fifty to the east and another thirty to the west, from the mountain to the sea, but also, above all, about the existence of two springs with medicinal waters. One of these two fountains is the so-called Fontanavecchia, which since 1866, when it was restored and embellished with a gray granite facade, changed its name to Fontana Garibaldi. It is certain that Fontanavecchia existed before 1571, the year in which the historian Gabriele Barrio published the first edition of his monumental work Read more [...]
Pozzo della Cava (The Quarry Well) is one of the two ancient wells in Orvieto, the other being Pozzo di San Patrizio. SHORT HISTORY The well was excavated, initially, by Etruscans searching for water springs in Orvieto. After many centuries, in 1527, Pope Clement VII took refuge in Orvieto after the Sack of Rome, and ordered the rehabilitation of the well, before comissioning the Pozzo di San Patrizio. The work was paid by the Municipality and was completed in 1530. Pozzo della Cava remained open until 1646, when the town authorities ordered its closing, after five French officers who attempted to molest women were thrown into the well. After more than 3 centuries, the well was uncovered by Tersilio Sciarra in December 1984. The restoration works lasted until 1996 and, in 2004, the ancient access from Via della Cava was restored. ARCHITECTURE The well is 36 meters deep, including the height of the spring water at the bottom. Pozzo della Cava consists of two parts that have been unified – a larger one, circular, with an average diameter of 3.40 meters, and a smaller rectangular shaft, measuring 60 x 80 centimeters. A tunnel about 1.7 meters high and Read more [...]
Pozzo di San Patrizio (Saint Patrick’s Well) is one of the two ancient wells in Orvieto, the other being Pozzo della Cava. SHORT HISTORY In 1527, Pope Clement VII, returned to Orvieto after the Sack of Rome and, eager to protect himself in case of a siege, comissioned the structure of the well to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The well, originally named Pozzo della Rocca (The Fortress Well), as it was close to the fortress Rocca Albornoziana, was designed to provide water in the event of a disaster or siege. The well was built between 1527 and 1537. The works were concluded during the papacy of Paul III Farnese (1534-1549). Pozzo di San Patrizio took the name of St. Patrick, probably because it was used as a Purgatory of Saint Patrick, similar to the cave in Ireland where the unbelievers who descended to its bottom would gain access to heaven. ARCHITECTURE The well was built by digging in the tuff of the plateau on which Orvieto stands, being an amazing masterpiece of hydraulic engineering. Pozzo di San Patrizio is a cylindrical structure, 54 meters deep, with a diameter of 13 meters. The access to the well is Read more [...]
Fontana di San Giuseppe (Fountain of Saint Joseph) is an interesting fountain in Spoleto, set against a terracing wall in Via Saccoccio Cecili, in the section commonly known as Curva dei Picchi. SHORT HISTORY Before the construction of Via Cecili, the place was occupied by a palace already equipped with a fountain, called already the Fountain of San Giuseppe. The palace was demolished in 1850, to make way for the new road, which at that point formed an important curve. In 1856, a new fountain was built, keeping the old name of San Giuseppe. In 1977, the fountain was restored by the Amici di Spoleto Association. ARCHITECTURE The water comes out of three nozzles, each provided with a collection tank. The central nozzle is decorated with a small mask. At the top, there is a crowned coat of arms in which a knight in battle is sculpted. HOW TO GET THERE From Piazza Garibaldi, as you enter the historic center of Spoleto, there are about 350 meters to the fountain, or about 5 minutes on foot. The closest bus station is Torre Dell’Olio, about 200 meters away, on the bus route MSP0D.
Fontebranda is a medieval fountain in Siena, located near Porta di Fontebranda, one of the remaining gates of the ancient city walls. SHORT HISTORY The first mention of Fontebranda dates back to the year 1081. The fountain was enlarged in 1193, and rebuilt in bricks and travertine in 1246 by Giovanni di Stefano, for the Wool Guild, who needed a permanent source of water. Saint Catherine of Siena was born and lived near the fountain, and that is why she is also known as the Saint of Fontebranda. ARCHITECTURE The fountain is characterized by three large ogival Gothic arches surmounted by merlons and a row of blind arches with triangular motifs. The front is adorned with four lion-shaped gushes, with the emblem of Siena in the center. Beyond the water tank, there are more than 25 kilometers of conduits, partly excavated and partly inside the walls, whose medium height is about 1.75 meters, with a width of about 0.90 meters. Today, you can walk through this tunnels, where rainwater, collected in a small channel carved in the walkway, flows with an inclination of one meter per kilometer, from the springs located in the Sienese countryside. These pipelines, in Read more [...]
The Fountain of Via Maestà delle Volte (Fontana di via Maestà delle Volte) is a beautiful fountain in Perugia, built in 1928 by the architect Pietro Angelini, under an ancient arch of the 15th century that frames it. The fountain, realized in medieval style, fits harmoniously in the context of the via Maestà delle Volte, seemingly from the same time period, but the inscription in Roman characters refers to the 20th century. The griffin, symbol of the Municipality of Perugia, is carved in the central tile of the pool, as on other public buildings. The fountain was restored in 2016, thanks to the Art Bonus 2015 donations. HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is near the Piazza IV November, very close to a more famous fountain, Fontana Maggiore, only 70 meters away. To get there, use the map below.
Fontana Maggiore is considered the most beautiful and famous fountain of the Middle Ages, the emblem of the medieval Perugia and the simbol of the city for almost 800 years. SHORT HISTORY Fontana Maggiore was built between 1275 and 1278 by the sculptors Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, father and son. The fountain was damaged by the earthquake of 1348, and its panels were restored in an arbitrary order. In 1948, it was restored with inappropriate materials (cement), and it was necessary a further restoration. In March 2017, Fontana Maggiore has returned to its splendor after a long restoration. ARCHITECTURE The fountain consists of two polygonal pools in white and pink stone, topped by a bronze cup with a bronze group of three nymphs supporting an amphora, from which the water flows. Originally, on their heads, there were four bronze griffins, for each cardinal point, that are now exposed in the National Gallery of Umbria. The tiles of the lower basin reproduce emblematic scenes of the Old Testament (the seduction of Adam by Eva, of Samson by Dalila), of the foundation of Rome, a calendar cycle of agricultural works interspersed with representations of the zodiacal signs. These are followed Read more [...]
In the historical center of Spoleto, in Piazza del Mercato (Market Square), there is a fantastic fountain, whose water has been running for over 700 years. With a clock above and a monument dedicated to the Barberini family on top, this fountain is known as Fontana di Piazza del Mercato or, simpler, Fonte di Piazza, and is one of the main tourist attractions in Spoleto, and should not be missed. SHORT HISTORY There has been a fountain in Piazza del Mercato since the 13th century or even earlier. In 1433, another one was built in front of the old fountain by the local architect Giovanni Buono and it was inaugurated on the occasion of the visit of Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg. Achille Sansi, a historian from the 19th century, tells us that the water flow of the fountain had been increased in 1512, thanks to the improvements made to the pipelines. In the 16th century, the place where today’s fountain stands was occupied by the church of San Donato. In the second half of the 16th century, the church was abandoned and its façade facing the square was used first for a clock, and then for a monument Read more [...]
Fontana di Mascherone is an interesting fountain in Spoleto, simply known by the locals as Il Mascherone, due to the mask from whose mouth the water flows. The fountain was probably built in the 17th century, and according to a nearby inscription, a restoration was comissioned in the year 1736 by the Pope Clement VII. HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is located in Piazza Campello, only 230 meters from the Spoleto Cathedral and about 1.9 kilometers from the Spoleto train station. If you want to find the fountain easily, use the map below.
The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The monument has been featured in many films including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain. Over time, a tradition related to the fountain has developed – almost every tourist throws a coin in the fountain, using the right hand over the left shoulder, hoping, according to the legend, to return to Rome. An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day, meaning that the fountain swallows over 1 million Euros each year. SHORT HISTORY In the year 1730, Pope Clement XII organized a contest for the construction of Fontana di Trevi. Alessandro Galilei, a Florentine, won, and Nicola Salvi came second. The city was not satisfied with the winner being from Florence, and the commission was awarded to Salvi. The work began in 1732 and the monument was completed long after Salvi’s death in 1751. Pietro Bracci’s sculpture, Oceanus, was set in the central niche and Giuseppe Pannini completed it in 1762. The fountain was inaugurated on May 22 by Pope Clement XIII. Read more [...]