Rome, Italy. The most famous and iconic fountains of Rome These fountains are pure works of art...

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Almost every square in Rome and the Vatican City is adorned with a beautiful fountain at its center. Like so many other elements of Rome, these fountains are pure works of art and several are tourist attractions in their own right that you won't want to miss on your trip to Italy

Trevi Fountain

The most famous fountain in all of Italy is the Trevi Fountain, an over-the-top Baroque masterpiece completed only in 1762. At all hours of the day, the Fontana di Trevi is thronged by tourists who visit it to throw coins into its pool in the hopes that this practice will ensure a return trip to Rome

The fountain dates back to ancient Roman times, since the construction of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in XIX B.C. that provided water to the Roman baths and the fountains of central Rome. It’s said that the Aqua Virgo, or Virgin Waters, is named in honor of a young Roman girl who led thirsty soldiers to the source of the spring to drink

The fountain was built at the end point of the aqueduct, at the junction of three roads

In 1730 Pope Clemens XII held a contest to design a new fountain. Many important architects participated, but in the end Nicola Salvi won the rights to design the fountain

However Salvi never saw his fountain completed. The first water came out of the fountain in 1743 but it wasn’t until 1762 that a different Pope, Clemens XIII, officially completed and inaugurated the new Trevi Fountain, 11 years after Salvi’s death

The fountain is mostly built from travertine stone, a name that means “from the Tiber” in Latin. A mineral made of calcium carbonate formed from spring waters, especially hot springs, the likely source was the city of Tivoli, about 22 miles from Rome

Other than the cost of a coin or two, it costs nothing to see the Trevi Fountain, making it one of Rome's Top Free Attractions, and it has been featured as a backdrop for several of the top movies set in Rome

Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navona

One of the most prolific artists in Rome was Gianlorenzo Bernini, who was active artistically from 1622 through 1680

In addition to breathing life into the marvelous marble creations that can be seen in the Borghese Gallery, Bernini sculpted several fountains in the city, the most famous of which is the Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navona

Your gaze is immediately drawn to the imposing Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center of the piazza, dominating the scene with its powerful presence and figures that seem to come alive from the sound of the rushing streams of water

The four giant nudes that form the statue are the personification of the principal rivers of the continents known at the time: the Nile represents Africa, with its veiled head because the source of the river had yet to be discovered, the Ganges Asia, the Danube Europe and Rio de la Plata, the Americas

The marble giants are arranged on a travertine shoal at the center of a scene of carved grottoes and decorated with flowers, exotic plants and animals. There are seven animals ranged around the fountain: a horse, a sea monster, a serpent, a dolphin, a crocodile, a lion and a dragon

Overhead, at the top of the obelisk, is a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit and emblem of the pope that commissioned the fountain

This marvelous work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini can also be interpreted as a spectacular metaphor: divine grace, symbolized by the Dove, rains upon the Earth and the 4 continents whose rivers feed the ocean, represented by the large pool

This was a theme extremely dear to the pope, whose emblem is placed several times on the fountain to remind us of his role as earthly intermediary of divine will

Fontana delle Naiadi

Dating from the 19th to the early 20th centuries, the Fontana delle Naiadi, or the Fountain of the Nymphs, is perhaps Rome's most sensual fountain

This large fountain, which decorates the Piazza della Repubblica, features a central pool on which Glaucus, the Water God is perched surrounded by four naiads (nymphs) which represent the four types of water: the rivers, the oceans, the lakes, and the underground aquifers

Built in the late 19th century, this fountain was originally decorated with four lions; these were replaced by sculptor Mario Rutelli's bronze naiads (water nymphs) in the early 20th century

The nudity of the four naiads, who surround the central figure of Glaucus wrestling a fish, was considered highly provocative at the time. Each naiad reclines on a creature symbolising water in a different form: a water snake (rivers), a swan (lakes), a lizard (streams) and a seahorse (oceans)

Fontana delle Tartarughe

Piazza Mattei, a small square located about 10 minutes away, welcomes another small water treasure of the city: the Turtle Fountain. Perhaps performed on a drawing by Raphael, the fountain carries a legend

Located in Piazza Mattei in the Jewish Ghetto neighborhood, not far from Campo de' Fiori, the fountain is a nice diversion and the neighborhood is a good place for a stroll, too

Story goes that Duke Mattei, a great gambler, in a night managed to lose everything, including the building in which he lived. The news of the radical loss reached the ears of his father-in-law, who refused to give him his daughter in marriage

The duke, in order to redeem himself from this defeat, promised that as in the course of one night he had lost his palace, so in the same way a night would have been enough to build a fountain in front of his house. And so it happened

Only decades later it was possible to discover the Duke’s trick. In fact, the fountain had already been built years earlier than our story, and Signor Mattei did nothing but move it in front of his palace

Saint Peter's Square Fountains

The Fountains of St. Peter's Square (Fontane di Piazza San Pietro) are two fountains in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, created by Carlo Maderno (1612–1614) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1667–1677) to ornament the square in front of St. Peter's Basilica

The Maderno fountain on the north side of the square is located on the site of an earlier fountain, built in 1490 during the time of Pope Innocent VIII

It was reputed to be the finest fountain in Rome, with two vasques and three jets of water coming from the mouths of three stone heads, and three coats of arms of Pope Innocent VIII, carved by Alonso du Capua

The fountain was described by the Roman chronicler Stefano Infessura: "In the year 1490, His Holiness constructed on the Square of St. Peter ... a magnificent fountain, with marble plaques inscribed with history, and two round vasques one above the other, so that they can be seen; and anyone will judge, nothing comparable can be found anywhere in Italy"

The fountain was restored by Pope Alexander VI in 1500 and a watering basin was added

For half a century, the square was decorated with the Maderno fountain and with the obelisk raised by Pope Sixtus V, but the southern part of the square remained empty

In 1667, Pope Clement X commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to build a second fountain, which closely followed the design of the Maderno fountain. The Bernini fountain was completed in 1677

The Fontana dell’Acqua Paola also known as Il Fontanone

We now cross Ponte Sisto, skirt the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere and after a walk of just two kilometres we will be in front of the next fountain of our tour: the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola

Four of the fountain’s six columns are made from pink stone and came from the facade of the old St Peter’s Basilica, while much of the marble was pillaged from the Roman Forum

The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola was inspired by the popularity of the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, built in 1585-88 by Pope Sixtus V

Pope Paul V decided to rebuild and extend the ruined Acqua Traiana aqueduct built by the Emperor Trajan in order to create a source of clean drinking water for the residents of the Janiculum Hill, who were forced to take their water from brackish springs or from the polluted Tiber

He raised funds for his project in part by imposing a tax upon wine, which caused complaints among some residents. The funding from this tax and other sources allowed him to purchase the rights to the water of a spring near Lake Bracciano, not far from Rome, as the source for the fountain

Often, this fount is remembered for an error in the inscription; it is in fact mentioned the restoration of the alsietino aqueduct while in reality to be restored it was the ancient Trajan water

This fountain is so beautiful that it was chosen for the opening scene of the Italian Paolo-Sorrentino-movie La Grande Bellezza

Travel Tours to Rome with Travel Dream Club:

Plan your vacation to Rome, Italy with the following list of Rome's most famous and most lovely fountains in mind to make sure you get a chance to see some of the city's most celebrated public attractions including the world famous Trevi Fountain (don't forget to make a wish!) and the fountains at St. Peter's Square

The article was prepared by Travel Dream Club UK www.traveldreamclub.uk

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