The Fountains of Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a beautiful square in Rome, Italy and it’s famous for its architecture, restaurants, and fountains.  Every day you can find tourist eating at the many restaurants in the square and also taking pictures in front of the famous three fountains.  The fountains have always fascinated me and I thought they would be an excellent topic to write about and photograph.  Therefore, the fountains of Piazza Navona will be the main focus of this post.  The three fountains in the square are the Fontana die Quattro Fiumi, the Fontana del Moro, and the Fontana del Nettuno.  However, before I get to the fountains, it’s important to breifly touch on the history of Piazza Navona.

The current location of Piazza Navona is actually on top of an old stadium, which dates back to the first century A.D.*  During this period Romans came to the the Stadium of Domitian (which can still be seen today).  The “agones” or games is what the people of Rome came to see.*

Fontona dei Quattro Fiumi 
Fontona dei Quattro Fiumi

Fontona dei Quattro Fiumi and River God Danube in the center.

The main attraction in Piazza Navona is the Fontana die Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers).  The fountain was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X.*  The base of the fountain is travertine rock which supports the four river Gods.  Above the Gods is an ancient Egyptian obelisk with a dove and Pamphili(The Popes summer palace) crescent at the top.*

The four river Gods represent the papal authority throughout the world.  The Nile (Africa), the Danube (Europe), the Ganges (Asia), and the Rio del la Plata (America).  The design is absolutely beautiful.  Recently the fountain became more famous due to Dan Brown’s book “Angels and Demons”.  I have read the book twice and seen the movie, however I absolutely love the soundtrack.

River God Ganges.

River God Ganges.

River God Rio del la Plata.

River God Rio del la Plata.

 Fontana del Moro
Fontana del Moro.

Fontana del Moro.

The Fontana del Moro or Fountain of the Moor, is located on the southern end of the square.  The fountain was originally designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1575 with a dolphin and four Tritons.*  However, in 1653 the statue of the Moor was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.  During 1874 the original statues were moved to the Galleria Borghese.  The current statues are replicas; which is a good thing.  In September 2011, the statues were damaged by a vandal using a hammer.*  I have included more pictures of the fountain below.

IMG_2538

 Fontana del Nettuno 

IMG_2587

The third fountain of Piazza Navona is located on the north end of the square.  The Neptune Fountain was formerly called the Fontana dei Calderari due to the many blacksmith shops located on the street near the fountain.*  In 1574, the fountain basin was created without statues.  The fountain was created due to the increase in population in the area.  However, 300 years later, the fountain of Neptune fighting an octopus was created by Antonio della Bitta in 1878.  The other statues were created by Gregorio Zappala.*

Neptune fighting the octopus.

Neptune fighting the octopus.

IMG_2566

Egyptian obelisk of the Four River Fountain in the background.

Egyptian obelisk of the Four River Fountain in the background.

Taking a trip to see the fountains in Piazza Navona has always been a joy.  I have visited the square for years and every time I notice something I didn’t see before.  There is so much to see in this square and it’s easy to find a seat on the edges of the square and just people watch for hours.  People come and go, but the fountains are a constant entertainment that never disappoint.  I hope you enjoyed this post and I would be pleased to hear from you.  What are your thoughts on the fountains in Piazza Navona?

Enjoy!

*All cited information was taken from http://www.romaviva.com and http://www.wikipedia.com

©2014 TORO Media, LLC

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2 Comments on “The Fountains of Piazza Navona

  1. Pingback: Castel Sant’ Angelo | History Hiker

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