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.
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 dedicated to the Barberini family, in particular to the Pope Urbano VIII, bishop of Spoleto from 1608 to 1617. The project was executed by Carlo Maderno.
On the top of the monument there are still four coats of arms: the first of Pope Urbano VIII, followed by those of the cardinals Francesco and Antonio Barberini, and finally, beneath, the family’s coat of arms.
The old fountain was demolished in 1746 to make room for the new one, that was built between 1746 and 1748 at the expense of the town, by the Roman architect Costantino Fiaschetti.
In 1977, the upper part of the façade was subjected to consolidation works, thanks to the contribution of the Association Amici di Spoleto.
HOW TO GET THERE
The fountain is about 1.7 kilometers from the Spoleto train station, and about 220 meters from Piazza del Duomo and the Spoleto Cathedral. If you need directions, you can use the map below.