~ Roman Monographs ~

· part III ·
Main Fountains


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modern fountain in Trastevere district, with a colourful mosaic featuring a diver

Here this long review about Rome's main fountains comes to an end: over forty of them have been described so far, and for the sake of completeness an appendix (yet to be written) will also cover the most important ones that stand in public parks, the largest of which once were private gardens of princely mansions and villas.

Even considering these ones, the list would still be incomplete: besides the fountains disregarded on purpose (see again the monograph's Foreword), there are other ones in Rome large enough to be included in these pages; but since they do not have a name, nor a story to tell, and for some of them even their author is no longer remembered, they have been left out of the list. Some typical examples of such modern 'anonymous' fountains, with very little sculpture work, or no sculpture work at all, are featured in these last pictures. Most of them are located in EUR district, built between the 1930s and the late 1950s, where such fountains were commonly used to furnish the many wide plazas, open areas and gardens, as they represent indeed an impressive embellishment, yet being their making relatively inexpensive.

jets of water gush high in E.U.R. district's artificial lake

piazzale Konrad Adenauer piazzale delle Nazioni Unite
more fountains in E.U.R. district (1937-60): three ground basins in piazzale Adenauer and one of the twin fountains in piazza delle Nazioni Unite;
below are two fountains by the so-called 'square Colosseum' building

viale Civiltą del Lavoro Only a few are worthy of being described more in detail. Among them is undoubtly the large face named Goddess Rome, by sculptor Igor Mitoraj, standing in piazza Monte Grappa since 2003, whose left half is soaked by water that trickles from its top part, although quite a few people dislike it.
Also the rather odd 'water sculpture' set in via Ettore Rolli (Portuense district) a few years ago does not go unnoticed, due to its weirdness rather than to its artistic value: it consists of four small communicating basins at the top, the lowest of which, once full, overflows into a long fancy-shaped gutter along one side of the frame, making the water gather into a tiny oval basin at ground level.
piazza Monte Grappa
Goddess Rome

the peculiar creation
in via Ettore Rolli
via Ettore Rolli

The latest fountain built is the one belonging to the new building that covers the Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis), a controversial work by architect Richard Meyer. It consists of a square pool with sixteen vertical gushes; on one side, a wall is soaked for its whole length by the water that trickles from a gutter running along its upper edge.

The golden age of fountain-making has long since subsided, and certainly nobody can expect that new important fountains will ever be built in Rome's historical downtown. However, still today sculptures or other works of art set in several districts make use of running water, as an active part of the composition. Their final outcome may not always meet the people's taste, but we should not forget that in the past this happened also to some of the historical fountains!
Even these minor works give their contribution for perpetuating the everlasting bond between Rome and its water.
piazza Bologna
four modern square basins in piazza Bologna, and a 'nasone' fountain (right)

via Tuscolana
small fountain built out of a traffic island in via Tuscolana, off Porta Furba
via di Ripetta
the fountain by the Ara Pacis (2006)

other pages in part III

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