Ancient Romans had the wherewithal to build aqueducts hundreds of kilometers long, funneling water from their sources to the cities of the Roman Empire and flowing it into basins, fountains, and baths. Today in Rome there are more than 2,000 fountains of every imaginable shape and size. Over the centuries, some of these were rendered true masterpieces by the likes of Bernini, a 17th-century multifaceted artist.
Here are some of the most important, finest fountains of Rome.
The grandiose Trevi fountain stands in this square of the same name just 500 meters from our hotel. Completed by Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini between 1732 and 1762, though started by Bernini, it is a true triumph of all that is baroque. Made of travertine, the stone used for the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain is at the end of the Roman-era Acqua Vergine aqueduct (built under the reign of Augustus).
Legend has it that if you throw a coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome soon!
But please keep one thing in mind… you're not Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, so don't go jumping into the fountain!
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
Another famed fountain is just as close to our hotel: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona. Designed by Bernini (1648–51), it features four figures representing famous rivers — the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, and La Plata River — holding up a Roman copy of an Egyptian obelisk.
Legend has it that one of four figures, that personifying the La Plata River, is raising his hand in disdain towards the church of Sant'Agnese, designed by Borromini, one of Bernini's competitors.
Another fountain that tourists love to photograph is the Barcaccia at the foot of the Spanish Steps leading to the church of Trinità dei Monti. As the name Barcaccia — "ugly boat" — suggests, it depicts a half-submerged boat, evoking the old vessels used to transport wine on the Tiber. Metro stop: Spagna
Fontana del Tritone
The small fountain in Piazza Barberini (at the Barberini metro station) is another Bernini piece, this one made for Pope Urban VIII, where his well-to-do family's palace once stood. The fountain depicts a triton, a mythological being sitting on a shell, held up by four dolphins. A few years ago it was restored to its former glory.
Immortalized in Paolo Sorrentino's film The Great Beauty the fountain of Acqua Paola, known as the "Big Fountain" for its impressive proportions, dates from 1612 and is the final section of the Acqua Paola aqueduct. Sitting atop the Gianicolo Hill, it was built to bring water to Trastevere.