The Truth about Bernini’s Baroque “Fountain of the Four Rivers” in Piazza Navona in Rome

The "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Fou...
Image via Wikipedia
Animals on the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi...

Animals on the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: the land snake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Animals on the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi...

Animals on the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: the crocodile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The "Fontana dei fiumi" (Fountain of...

The “Fontana dei fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. Picture by Alers, August 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Rome, Piazza Navona (fountain of the ...

English: Rome, Piazza Navona (fountain of the Four Rivers – piece) Italiano: Piazza Navona, Roma (fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – particolare) Polski: Rzymski plac Navona (fontanna czterech rzek – fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Animals on the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi...

Animals on the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: the lion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Fou...

The “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy, topped by the “obelisk of Domitian”. Picture by Stefan Bauer 03-09-2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Piazza Navona is Rome’s fabulous Baroque piazza. The charming cafes and famous fountains make it the perfect “Vino con Vista” destination.

It was originally Emperor Domitian’s Circus Agonalis, an oblong sports stadium and the remnants are visible under the street.

Rome's Piazza Navona

 The piazza is located in the center of Centro Storico. The area has been inhabited for over 2000 years and was built above Domitian’s ancient stadium designed for Olympic games in 85 AD.

English: Piazza Navona, Rome Français : La pla...

English: Piazza Navona, Rome Français : La place Navone à Rome Italiano: Piazza Navona, Roma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Piazza Navona, Bernini’s sumptuous baroque “Fountain of the Four Rivers” graces the piazza; topped with the “Obelisk of Domitian.”

Rome's Piazza Navona

Pope Innocent X (Giovanni Battista Pamphilj) commissioned Bernini to design the fountain in 1651 near the Pamphilj Palace. The fountain was executed by a large group of sculptors under Bernini’s supervision.

The fountain symbolizes the four continents using symbolic figures of four rivers. The navigability of Ganges River is symbolized by a long oar and represents Asia. It was created by Claude Poussin.

Piazza Navona in Rome

The Danube represents Europe and touches the Pamphili papal coat of arms (symbolized by the Pamphilj dove) because it is the closest river to Rome. It was created by Antonio Raggi.

Piazza Navona in RomePiazza Navona in Rome

The Rio de la Plata (above on the right) is sitting on a pile of coins (plat means silver in Spanish) and symbolizes the Americas. It was sculpted by Francessco Baratta.

The Nile represents Africa and the head is cover with a veil because the river had an unknown source of water. It was sculpted by Antonio Fancelli.

Allegorical statue of river Danube. Detail fro...

Allegorical statue of river Danube. Detail from the “Fountain of the Four rivers” by Gianlorenzo Bernini, in Piazza Navona, Rome. 16/X/2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is rumored that Bernini intentionally placed a veil over the face of the “Nile” river statue to prevent the statue from looking at the façade of the church designed by his arch-rival Boromini. Boromini designed the church behind the fountain with the large dome and twin towers (St. Agnes in Agony). However, the façade of that church was actually completed after the fountain was finished.

"Fontana dei fiumi" (Fountain of the...

“Fontana dei fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: coat of arms of pope Innocentius X Pamphili. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

 Bernini's Piazza Navona Piazza Navona in Rome

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Filed under ebooks, Italian art, Italy, Italy ravel, Italy Travel Guides, Piazza Navona, Rome, Rome History, Rome Italy, Travel and Tourism, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites

8 responses to “The Truth about Bernini’s Baroque “Fountain of the Four Rivers” in Piazza Navona in Rome

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