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.
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 use since the 12th century, were able to provide water for the city, collecting rainwater infiltrations.
In fact, Fontebranda and Fonte Gaia, the fountain from Piazza del Campo, have one thing in common – a 15.7 kilometers long pipeline that is feeding both fountains with water.
Fontebranda had originally three tanks, the first for drinking, the second for animals and the third for washing.
TIP: Fontebranda is, probably, the most famous fountain in Tuscany, due to the fact that it was mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest bus stop is Fonti Di Fontebranda, located about 50 meters away, on the bus Lines 589, 637, S21 and S54. To find the fountain on foot, use the map below.