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.
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 Sicilian lieutenant of the Bourbon government, decided to move the statue to a municipal warehouse.
On 7 June 1860, with the arrival in Palermo of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the statue of Genius was brought back to the square, which since took the name of Piazza Rivoluzione.
The fountain consists of a low circular basin bordered by an iron gate. Inside, we can find a marble tank with a high edge and a rectangular structure. On the four sides, there are memorial plaques of the 1848 riots, while on the corners are four circular extensions of the basin.
In the basin, stands a rocky mound on which is placed a small statue of Carrara marble, the Genius of Palermo, depicted as a mature and bearded man, with eyes turned to the sky. The Genius, crowned and covered with a mantle, holds in his arms a snake that feeds on his chest.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fontana del Genio is located about 500 meters away from the Palermo Centrale train station. The closest bus station is Roma-Palazzo Ganci, located about 200 meters away, on the bus Lines 101, 102, 124 and Arancione.