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What do Rome's 9 district fountains have in common?

Rome's district fountains

In the history (and tourism) of the Eternal City, fountains certainly play a central role: from the monumental works to the nasoni. However, not many know about Rome's 9 district fountains, all created by one artist, Pietro Lombardi, and all connected by the same idea behind their design. Let's discover this route with the Acea Waidy Wow app.

Rome’s passion for fountains, big and small

The Romans are famous all over the world for their connection with water, which led them to build numerous and impressive aqueducts, baths, cisterns and monumental fountains. In the city's main streets and squares we can still enjoy many of these famous fountains today, such as for example the Fontana di Trevi, visited daily by thousands of tourists. However, plenty of smaller and lesser known fountains also exist, and are equally interesting. This is certainly true of the capital's district fountains.

Rome's district fountains

All nine of the city's district fountains were designed and created by the architect and sculptor, Pietro Lombardi, in the first half of the 20th century. Each of these small works of art was created with the intent of representing Rome’s original districts.

1. Fontana dei Libri

The Fontana dei Libri (Fountain of the Books) is located in the heart of Rome and represents the history and character of the Sant'Eustachio district. Gushes of fresh water spout from the enormous books resting on its shelves, whilst at its center, there is a deer's head gazing downwards, symbol of the neighborhood. Lombardi chose to include books in his design to underline the presence of Rome's university, La Sapienza, that originally was located in this area.

2. Fontana dei Monti

In via San Vito we find the Fontana dei Monti: where the three hills, Esquilino, Viminale and Celio, overlap and are surmounted by stars. The water comes out directly from the three starry mountains and falls into the suspended travertine basins.

3. Fontana delle Anfore

Testaccio was traditionally Rome's trading and mercantile hub. Its main square houses Lombardi's Fontana delle Anfore. Amphorae were large ceramic jugs used for transporting oil, that was then stored in the local warehouses, and thus symbolize trade and commerce.

4. Fontana delle Palle del Cannone

Located near the Passetto in the San Pietro area, the Fontana delle Palle del Cannone, or Cannon Ball Fountain, represents this district that is also home to Castel Sant'Angelo. Water flows from a pyramid of stacked travertine cannon balls and falls into the basin below, that was used as a drinking trough for horses.

5. Fontana della Botte

In the central square of San Callisto in Rome's Trastevere district, Pietro Lombardi created the Fontana della Botte. The barrel recalls the custom of transporting wine here from the Castelli area in huge wooden barrels and, in fact, Trastevere is where locals gather for a night out, as the area is still famous for its taverns, restaurants and wine bars to this day.

6. Fontana del Timone

Also in the Trastevere neighbourhood, but this time on the Lungotevere Ripa, we can admire the Fontana del Timone. Until the end of the 19th century, the site marked by this district fountain was home to the port of Ripa Grande. The fountain's theme is clearly navigation: it portrays a ship's wheel, out of which water flows.

7. Fontana degli Artisti

Compasses, brushes, easels, palettes, stools and masks: we are of course in Via Margutta, in the Campo Marzio district, home to the Fontana degli Artisti. Many painters, photographers, writers and sculptors established their ateliers or took residence in this neighborhood surely experiencing, like the masks of the fountain, the highs and lows associated with the life of an artist.

8. Fontana della Pigna

Not far from Piazza Venezia, in front of the Basilica of Saint Mark, we find the Fontana della Pigna. This area was once called “rione Pigna” (i.e. pine cone neighborhood), since a large sculpture of a pine cone was located here. This has now been moved to the Vatican.

In the center of this square full of greenery, with its palm trees, pines and leafy bushes, Pietro Lombardi decided to create a fountain with this same shape. Two tulip corollas support the pine cone and water gushes from lateral spouts into various levels below. The water ends its journey in two travertine basins at the base of the structure.

9. Fontana delle Tiare

The most sacred out of all the district fountains, is the Fontana delle Tiare that rests on Saint Peter's colonnade. Naturally, the theme is religion: three papal tiaras with St. Peter's keys and the coat of arms of Rome and the Borgo district.

Would you like to visit the district fountains in person and examine them in more detail? Use the Acea Waidy Wow app to follow the recommended route and read more about each point of interest. And, when you get thirsty, just take a look at the map of water points to find the closest drinking fountain near you and refill your water bottle.