The Four Fountains

Via delle Quattro Fontane. (Open Map)


The fountains are placed in the corners of the four buildings that stand at the crossing between Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via XX Settembre, each within a niche. They were built between 1588 and 1590 under pope Sixtus the Fifth Peretti (1585-1590) to decorate the quadrivium formed by Strada Pia (today Via XX Settembre) and Strada Felice (today Via delle Quattro Fontane).

The material came from the blocks of the Septizodium, a monumental nymphaeum with seven orders of columns built by Septimius Severus at the foot of the Palatine Hill, demolished by Domenico Fontana to supply the numerous building yards opened by pope Sixtus the Fifth. 

The fountains all present semicircular travertine ponds. In the upper part of each fountain there is a statue that lies in front of a spectacular background consisting of vegetable ornaments. Two of them represent rivers. The one in the corner of Palazzo del Drago represents the Arno river flanked by a lion, coat of arms of Florence. Close to the nearby church of San Carlino is the Tiber river with a cornucopia full of fruit in the left hand and the she-wolf on its side. 

The statue representing Fidelity or more probably Diana flanked by a dog and leaning against three mountains, emblem of Sixtus the Fifth, is in the corner towards Palazzo Barberini. The fourth fountain represents Strength or the goddess Juno with a peafowl on the left and alion’s head pouring water on the right.