Rome is literally an open-air museum, so full of monuments and attractions that many of them could even go unnoticed. For example, not everyone is aware that Rome is the town of fountains.
Since the Roman Empire, Romans have developed a complex and yet efficient public water supply system, through their aqueducts. The result of this work is a capillary network of fountains that are still working and constantly enhanced, starting from the modest “nasoni” (literally “big noses”, because of their peculiar shape) to the biggest monumental waterworks highlighted in the most significant spots of Rome’s historic center.
Through the most famous Rome’s fountain, it’s possible to draw an itinerary through a millennial history and culture of the most artistic city in the world. You can check to click here to learn more about these wellsprings. Many organized tours propose a path through the Italian capital’s renowned waterworks, in order to outline some of its most significant periods throughout almost 3.000 years of history. Do you want an example? Try to follow this one.
We can start our walk (because our trip through the best fountains in Rome could be experienced going on foot) from Piazza Della Repubblica, a square located a few meters from Termini Station, Rome’s most important railway hub. In the middle of it, we can find the Fountain of the Naiads (Fontana Delle Naiadi), a circular planned waterworks piece of art built at the end of the XIX Century. It features five statues: four nymphs and – right in the center – the fisherman Glaucus. Each figure is depicted while it’s fighting against a realistic or mythological animal: this is meant to symbolize the everlasting struggle between man and nature.
Moving towards the historical center, we come across Piazza Barberini, in the middle of which we can find the Fountain of Triton (Fontana del Tritone), one of the most important pieces of baroque art bequeathed to Rome by the genius of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Just a few more minutes walking, and we end up in Piazza di Spagna, maybe the most popular and iconic squares in Rome. There, another Bernini’s masterpiece stands out in the middle, right in front of the equally famous stairway: the Fontana Della Barcaccia (roughly translatable in “Worthless Boat’s wellspring”), an object of admiration from hordes of tourists that every day crowd the square.
Stepping towards Saint Peter, we finally find the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), the largest waterworks in Rome, another magnificent example of baroque art. Not only a wellspring, but a real monument, Trevi Fountain is hidden in a small square, but it’s also the iconic Roman wellspring par excellence, at least from the time when Federico Fellini included in his masterpiece La dolce vita the notorious scene in which Anita Ekberg takes a bath inside its waters.
In Piazza Della Rotonda, right in front of the Pantheon Temple, there is the Pantheon Fountain (Fontana del Pantheon), known for its six-meter obelisk placed (actually more than a century after its completion) in the middle of it. And finally we get to Piazza Navona, another iconic monumental square, with its three fountains: the Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno), designed by Giacomo Della Porta and located in the northern end of the square; the Fountain of Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) in the middle, designed by Bernini; and the Fountain of the Moor (Fontana del Moro), located in the southern end and also designed by Bernini. This waterworks triptych can be considered the apotheosis of Baroque art in Rome and the clearest evidence of how much monumental fountains are an indivisible and unmissable part of its historical and cultural landscape.