Fontana Maggiore is considered the most beautiful and famous fountain of the Middle Ages in Italy, the emblem of the medieval Perugia and the simbol of the city for almost 800 years. The fountain is located in Piazza IV Novembre, in the historical center of the city.
Fontana Maggiore was built between 1275 and 1278 by the sculptors Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, father and son, after a design by frà Bevignate of Cingoli.
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 returned to its splendor after a long restoration.
ART AND 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 (Seduction of Adam by Eva, Seduction of Samson by Dalila), scenes related to the foundation of Rome, and a calendar cycle of agricultural works interspersed with representations of the zodiacal signs.
These are followed by the seven liberal arts and a personification of Philosophy. Between them, is the griffin, Perugia’s heraldic symbol, and the lion, the symbol of the Guelphs.
During the Middle Ages, Italy was divided into two factions, the Guelphs, who were in favor of the Papacy, and the Ghibellines, who believed that the power should belong to the Emperor.
The upper polygonal pool rests on 24 columns, overlayed by as many round statues. They represent characters linked to the mythical foundation of the city and its political and territorial role of the time.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fontana Maggiore is located about 1.8 kilometers away from the Perugia railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, located about 170 meters away, on the bus Lines Z20 and Z21. For the right directions, use the map below.
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