The top 6 fountains of Rome

Trevi Fountain – Wikipedia

Rome’s most impressive fountain is undoubtedly the Trevi Fountain. This theatrical baroque fountain was already a beloved monument at the time of La Dolce Vita, but the scenes of Anita Ekberg taking a night-time dip made it even more iconic. Don’t try to act out the scene yourself, as the police have little patience for tourists jumping into historic fountains, but do make sure you visit the fountain at night. It’s particularly spectacular after dark, as you’ll discover on a Rome by night tour.


“Rome’s most impressive fountain is

undoubtedly the Trevi Fountain.”


Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers in nearby Piazza Navona is also impressively over the top. The four enormous statues at the base of the Egyptian obelisk represent four river gods – the gods of the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and the Rio de la Plata.

Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza Navona – Luftphilia Flickr

At the time of its construction in 1651, it was a powerful symbol of how papal power had gone global. Many people in Rome were unhappy that Pope Innocent X was frittering away money on fountains at a time of famine, and protest signs read: “We do not want Obelisks and Fountains, It is bread that we want!” 

Fontana delle Tartarughe – Wikipedia

The ordinary people of Rome may have been less than enthusiastic about these ostentatious displays of power and wealth, but centuries later, most locals have a soft spot for the fountains. The quirky Fontana delle Tartarughe (“turtle fountain”) in the Jewish Ghetto is a Roman favourite; four naked boys catch turtles falling from the basin above. The boys were built first, while the turtles were added later, possibly by Bernini.


“Indeed, just as you’re never far from a fountain,

you’re also never far from a work by Bernini.”


Indeed, just as you’re never far from a fountain, you’re also never far from a work by Bernini. He’s everywhere. Piazza Barberini is dominated by the imposing Fontana del Tritone, while a smaller fountain by Bernini is located at the edge of the square, where the Via Veneto begins. It’s known as the Fontana delle Api (“bee fountain”), and, perhaps surprisingly for such an ornate little fountain, it was originally intended to be used as a watering trough for horses.

 Fontana delle Api – Wikipedia

Many people admire the Fontana della Barcaccia (“fountain of the ugly boat”) in Piazza della Spagna without knowing the fascinating story behind it. Built by – you guessed it – Bernini and his father, the fountain commemorates the terrible flood of 1598. A boat from the Tiber was washed up in Piazza di Spagna, and the ugly boat of the Berninis serves as a permanent reminder of this strange event.

Barcaccia, Piazza di Spagna – Wikipedia

If the sound of running water is making you thirsty, make sure you stop off at a nasone on your fountain tour. There are 2,500 drinking fountains in the streets of Rome, and while they may not be much to look at, on a hot summer’s day, a nasone is worth a hundred Trevi Fountains…

Nasone – Wikipedia

Alexandra Turney lives in Rome and works for Through Eternity Tours

Written by Alexandra Turney