Fontebranda is an interesting medieval fountain in Siena, near the Porta di Fontebranda, one of the remaining gates in the ancient city walls.
Fontebranda was first mentioned in the year 1081, expanded in 1193 and rebuilt of bricks and travertine in 1246 by Giovanni di Stefano, for the Wool Guild, who needed a permanent source of water.
Fontebranda is, probably, the most famous fountain in Tuscany, because it was mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy.
St. Catherine of Siena was born and lived near the fountain, and that is why she is also known as the Saint of Fontebranda.
The source 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 wall, 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.
Fontebranda and Fonte Gaia, the fountain in Piazza del Campo, have one thing in common – a 15.7 kilometers long pipeline that is feeding the both fountains with water.
Fontebranba had originally three tanks, the first for drinking, the second for animals and the third for washing.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fontebranda is near the Basilica of San Domenico, and the closest bus station is Fonti Di Fontebranda, on the lines 589, 637, BXB, S21 and S54, at about 60 meters away from the fountain. If you need a map for exploring Siena on foot, use the one below.