"Fountain of Moses" Top 5 Page for this destination Italy Things to Do Tip by iandsmith

Italy Things to Do: 1,470 reviews and 2,257 photos

  Anyone for Moses?
by iandsmith

I stood before this fountain in awe while waiting for our guided tour to Tivoli. People noncholantly strolled past totally ignoring it as, I suspect, I would if I lived in Rome. I thought it was wonderful, the first fountain I had seen in Rome.
The Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, is a monumental fountain located in the Quirinal eDistrict of Rome, Italy. It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V. It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88.
The first effort to built the fountain, by architect Matteo Bartolani, was a failure: Bartolani miscalculated the incline of the channel, so the flow of water was much less than needed to supply drinking water for the neighborhood. A new fountain was constructed by architect engineer Domenico Fontana in the form of an ancient Roman triumphal arch. It featured, as ancient Roman fountains did, an inscription honoring its builder, Pope Sixtus. beneath angels holding the papal coat of arms. Within each of the three arches were sculptures on Old Testament subjects. The central arch featured a large statue of Moses, made in 1588 by Leonardo Sormani and Prospero da Brescia. To the left is Aaron Leading the Israelites to Water, and to the right is Gideon Leading His People across the River Jordan sculpted by Flaminio Vacca and Pietro Paolo Olivieri. Water flows from the statues into basins, where four Egyptian lions are spouting water.
Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, statue of MosesThe statue of Moses was criticized at the time for its large size, not in proportion with the other statuary, but the fountain achieved its political purpose; it was a statement of how the Catholic Church, unlike the Protestant Reformation, was serving the needs of the people of Rome. It also achieved its social purpose of reviving the Quirinal neighborhood; what had been a rustic area of villas was turned into a thriving urban neighborhood by the arrival of a good drinking water supply.
I was saddened to see that it probably hadn't been cleaned since Prospero di Brescia constructed this first fountain of the Renaissance. The almost bronze glow came from early morning sun on layers of caked dirt that even the pigeons couldn't tolerate.
In Rome it doesn't rate, such is the excess of this type of work, in almost any other city it would be a feature. When you have over 280 to choose from I guess you can afford to be picky.
However, the Fountain of Moses I felt was deserving of more recognition, so here I am doing my bit!

Address: Via VIttorio Emmanuelle Orlando
Directions: A block or so from the Piazza della Repubblica

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 11, 2011
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