The fountains of Rome are artistic and cultural heritage of enormous value. Scattered around the city are 8 other important fountains and about 2,500 nasoni. These are public fountains made of cast iron or travertine, from which Romans have been drinking for generations. The water that comes out of them is the same as the tap water: drinkable and of high quality.
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola and Fontana dell’Acqua Felice
Another important fountain in Rome is the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, also known as Il Fontanone (the Great Fountain). Pope Paul V commissioned Giovanni Fontana to design the fountain in the early 1600s. Lake Bracciano, not far from Rome, is the source of the fountain.
The design of the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola was inspired by the popular Fontana dell’Acqua Felice, also known as the Fountain of Moses. It was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V, born Felice Peretti. In 1585, the pope commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to create a work of art on the fountain.
Eventually, three triumphal arches were created with a biblical story in each. In the center is a statue of Moses, based on a story from the Old Testament in which he beats water out of a rock. To the left of Moses is a statue of Aaron leading the Israelites through the water. To the right of Moses is Joshua pointing the army to the Red Sea. The fountain was finished in 1586 and opened in June 1587.
Fontana del Tritone
There’s also the Triton Fountain in Piazza Barberini. It was created in 1642/1643 from travertine by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, for Pope Urban VIII’s facade.
The fountain consists of a strong Triton (young sea god) sitting on a large shell, held up by four large fish (perhaps dolphins). Furthermore, the Triton blows on a trumpet shell from which a jet of water comes out.
Fontana delle Naiadi
The Fountain of the Naiades is located in the center of Piazza della Repubblica and is considered the most beautiful among Rome’s modern fountains. The circular tub was designed by Alessandro Guerrieri in 1888 and decorated with four plaster lions.
In 1901, bronze Naiden (freshwater nymphs from Greek mythology) by sculptor Mario Rutelli was added.
Fontana delle Tartarughe
The Turtle Fountain from the late Italian Renaissance can be found in Piazza Mattei. The fountain was constructed between 1580 and 1588 by architect Giacomo della Porta and sculptor Taddeo Landini.
The original design featured four ephebes (young Greek men) sitting on young dolphins. The bronze turtles at the top weren’t added until 1658/1659 when the fountain was restored. It’s not clear whether Gian Lorenzo Bernini or Andrea Sacchi created the turtles.