5 fun facts about the Fontana della Barcaccia in Rome
Placed in the center of Piazza di Spagna, right at the foot of the spectacular staircase leading to Trinità dei Monti, stands one of the most photographed fountains of Rome: we are talking about the Fontana della Barcaccia. Let's discover together fun facts and the meaning behind this splendid landmark in the itineraries recommended by Acea Waidy Wow.
Who commissioned the Barcaccia?
The Barcaccia fountain was commissioned in 1627 by Pope Urbano VIII Barberini to carry out a project of 1570, which involved the construction of a series of public fountains along the branches of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct. The goal? The embellishment of the squares, but also the widespread distribution of water in the city. At that time, the staircase did not exist yet and the fountain had to be built in the center of the square, at the foot of the hill on which the church of the Trinità dei Monti stood.
Who is the artist that created the Barcaccia fountain?
The project for the Fontana della Barcaccia was entrusted to Pietro Bernini, who had just worked on the expansion of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct. The latter, apparently, was helped by his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini (yes, we are talking about the famous sculptor), who probably took care of the completion of the fountain in 1629 after his father's death.
What does the Barcaccia symbolize and why is it called this way?
As the term suggests, the Barcaccia represents a boat that is about to sink. This theme was probably inspired by the flood of the Tiber river in 1598. The water transported and deposited an ancient boat right in the center of the square: according to some theories, it was a combat boat, according to others it was a Roman boat used for transporting goods along the river.
Why is the Barcaccia positioned below street level?
The position of the Barcaccia, in addition to perfectly rendering the idea of a boat immersed in water that is about to sink, solves the problem of the low pressure of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct on which it stands. Without this expedient, it would not have been possible to create jets and water games.
Would you like to learn more details about the Barcaccia?
The silhouette of Bernini's Barcaccia fountain, more sculptural than architectural, is unmistakable to say the least. But have you noticed all the details? For example, at the bow and stern, the water gushes towards the inside of the boat from two large suns, and towards the outside from the mouths of fake gunboats flanked by large papal coats of arms with bees, symbol of the Barberini. The water that overflows from the sides, then, perfectly conveys the idea of a sinking boat.
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