One of often-cited intercultural proverbs is „Being in Rome, do as Romans do”. I transform it into a sentence „Doing business with Romans, know (also) their city”. In process of learning la Roma I enjoyed places connected with 4 elements –air, earth, fire and water, but especially the latter.

It all has started with aqueducts

A water (besides famous roman roads and law system) was the aspect which contributed to the development of the Empire, but also overspending for their maintenances regarded by historians asa contributing factor of a decline of the Rome Empire (1). Ancient Rome was supplied in water with 11 aqueducts. With the fall of Western Roman Empire they are not used any more. In 1453 the Pope Nicholas has ordered the renovation of the aqueducts. In the next centuries the end station (terminus) of aqua roads in form of the fountains, called in Italian language monstra (what means showview) where build in the city: Fountain di Trevi, Fontantadell’Acqua Paola, Fontantadell’AcqualFeliece and fountains of Piazza del Popolo.

River Tiber and the bridges

Rome lies at the river Tiber. The most popular for strolls and best known for it artistic value is a bridge Ponte Saint’ Angelo with 10 sculptures of angels. This was last project called “Angels holding instruments of the Passion” designed by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini. He personally (with help of his son Paolo) finished the two sculptures in marble of the Angel with the Superscription “I.N.R.I.” and the Angel with the Crown of Thorns (1667-1669). Nowadays the original are in the church Sant”AndreadelleFratte in Rome. The bridge decorated with sculptures of angels was aimed to be a road which evoke a religious reflection and sense of beauty when walking to a headquarter of the Christianity. 

Fountains in Rome

Nowadays in most famous squares (piazza) there is a fountain, having historical and artistic value. They deliver delight to the senses – supply freshness of an air and relaxation but foremost delight to the eyes. It is enough to name the fountains at most famous squares: Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagnia, Piazza Barberini, Piazza di Trevi and many others. The abundance of fountains we can be thankful to the Pope Urban VIII (living in XVII century) who initiated the project to erect a fountain in every major piazza.

The main designer of the fountains in Rome was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, extraordinary sculptor and architect at his time and in the history of art. As he has developed baroque style, the fountains are in this style as well:

  • Fountain of the Boat (1627) at Piazza di Spagnia
  • Fountain of the Tritone (1642-43) at Piazza Barberini
  • Fountain of the Bees (1644) (Fontana delleApi) at Piazza Barberini
  • Fountain of 4 Rivers (FontanadelleQuatriFumi) 1648-51
  • Moro Fountain (Fontana del Moro) (1653-54) at Piazza Navona
  • Fountain at St. Peter’s Square (1656-67).


Fountain of the Boat (Fontana dellaBaraccia) is a baroque style fountain at foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome’s Piazza di Spagnia. The fountain was built in 1623 by PietroBerninini (father of Gian Lorenzo), ordered by the Pope Urban VIII, who initiated the project to build a fountain in every major piazza in Rome.

The Spanish Stairs with the Boat Fountain


The Fountain of The Tritons (Fontana del Tritone) at the Piazza Barberini

A seventeenth-century fountain designed by baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, leading sculptor at his age[1]presents the Triton – a merman, son of Poseidon and the Amphitrite. He was herald for his father. His attribute was a twisted conch shell, on which he blew like a trumpet to calm or raise the waves.

PIAZZA NAVONA houses 3 fountains: Fountain of Four Rivers, Fountain of Neptune and Moore Fountain

The Fountain of Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) was designed in 1651 also by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The work was sponsored by the Pope Innocent X, whose family palace the Palazzo Pamhili faced the piazza. The fountain presents 4 river gods representing the river and the continent: the Nile – Africa, the Danube – Europe, the Ganges – Asia, and the Río de la Plata – the Americas. This marble fountain is regarded as most spectacular works.

Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno) 

Moore Fountain (Fontana del Moro) was sculptured in marble and represents a Moor or African, standing in a conch shell and 4 Tritons

When your not an art lover there is another subject to talk with Italians – it is food and the Italian cuisine. This subject is tasty and Italians love talking about food.

Enjoy Italian spirit


All photos  are taken by the author

[1] Boucher, Bruce (1998). Italian Baroque Sculpture.Thames & Hudson (World of Art).pp. 134–42. 

[1]N.Squires, What led to the fall of the Roman Empire?, www., 8.April 2011