Fountains are among the most successful monuments of the late Renaissance," and those which stand on either side of the great Square of
Rome has been called the most religious city in the world because of the number of her churches. With equal propriety, and perhaps with greater justice, she might be called the cleanest city in the world because of the number of her fountains. Pagan emperors and Christian popes alike have found both profit and pleasure in adding another fountain or in making or repairing one more aqueduct or fountain to give a still greater supply of water to the Roman populace. No other people, with the possible exception of the Spanish Moors, have so appreciated the value and the beauty of abundant water, fountains, and aqueducts. Romans viewed water both functionally and as a form of beauty.
In ancient Rome, it is likely meditating meant some quiet time by the fountain. There are few squares, even in the modern Rome of today, where, at least in the silence of the night, the sound
of of fountain splashing water may not be heard. The tiny fountain, often fern-fringed, with its ceaseless, slen
der stream of water, is the one priceless possession in hundreds of old courtyards, where it fills a damp and lonely silence with charm, or redeems by its indestructible quality of beauty the meanness of the squalid life about it. It is impossible to think of Rome without her fountains. Yet, after a few weeks, the eye is hardly aware of their
presence. It is as if by their very beauty and omnipresence they had acquired the divine attributes of sunlight; and it requires the silence, as with the sunlight it requires the cloud, to rouse our consciousness to their existence. The fountains take their place among the elemental causes of happiness, since the pain we feel at their loss is the only adequate measure of the pleasure they give us. It is difficult for modern man to picture to himself the abundance and splendor of the fountains in Rome. Some idea of their character may be obtained from the description gathered from various sources of Nero’s fountain on the Caelian. The mingled waters of the Claudian and the Anio Novus aqueducts were brought there over the Neronian arches. A wall fifty feet in height, faced with rare marbles and decorated by hemicycles and statues, formed the background of the first fountain cascade. At the foot of this wall a huge basin received the stream of water from the fountain, which then fell into another basin ten feet below the first, and thence flowed into the great artificial lake, described by Suetonius as like unto a sea, which filled all that space now occupied by the Coliseum. Of great magnificence also was the fountain of Severus Alexander on the Esquiline which served to introduce the Acqua Alexandrina, the eleventh and last water supply of imperial Rome.
There are few squares, even in the modern Rome of today, where, at least in the silence of the night, the sound of of fountain splashing water may not be heard.
The three fountains of the Campidoglio have one fundamental characteristic in common-that of being a part of Rome from a period of great
The fountain of the Piazza Colonna might be the "Fountain of Youth," for the freshness of its marbles makes it seem
At the entrance to this palace stand two rare and vast fountains made of granite stone and brought from the Baths of Titus."