Friday, October 13, 2006

Fontanone dell'Acqua Paola - Rome

Fontanone dell'Acqua Paola

This photo of the Fountain of Paola is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from around Rome linked to an interactive map.

Getting to this point on the west of the Tiber is arduous. There is little public transport and the fountain is situated near the top of a hill. Once here however, there are lovely views over Rome and the promise that it is all down hill from now on.

The Paola Fountain was built in 1613 and moved to the current location in 1898. It commemorates the completion of an aqueduct to provide the surrounding district and the Vatican with a new supply of fresh water. In fact, this turned out to be a renovation project as the ancient Romans had already built an aqueduct here.

The original aqueduct was built here by Augustus and Trajan in late 1C. It channeled fine drinking water to Rome from the springs of Lake Bracciano some 40km north-west of Rome. This was the highest aqueduct in Rome entering the city 203 feet above sea level. By the 17C the aqueduct had fallen into disrepair and in 1608 pope Paul V commissioned the repair, overseen by Giovanni Fontana.

The work took 4 years and was known as the Acqua Sabbatina or Acqua Bracciano, but was renamed Acqua Paola in honour of Paul V. The fountain here was referred to as Il Fontanone (the Big Fountain) because of the size. It is made of white marble and granite, with most of the building material coming from the Forum Nerva. The original fountain had three large central arches and 2 smaller side arches with 5 basins into which the water descended. In 1690, Pope Alexander VIII wanted the fountain to be enlarged and during this work the 5 basins were replaced with the current single large basin.

At the time this photograph was taken the fountain was undergoing repair, but you can still appreciate both the size of the Paolo Fountain and the view over Rome in the full panoramic image found on the Rome tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

1 comment:

Rome the Second Time said...

Ciao, Peter - we love your choice of the Acqua Paola fountain; we are entranced by it also. However, let us correct one thing: the fountain was not moved. Your comment relates to a smaller fountain (also fed by acqua paola) that was moved from the other side of the Tevere to Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere, where it still stands. This one was never moved (nor does it appear it could be!). Also, we don't think the trek up there is arduous and even if it were, well worth it. Dianne ( - the fountain is in our book and will be featured on the blog next week)

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