After several years of cleaning and restoration, I finally saw the Fountain of Four Rivers in all its glory, unveiled of its scaffolding and netting. The Fountain of Four Rivers, known in Italian as La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, is more than just a vehicle to provide a water supply to the general public. It is one of Rome's beloved masterpieces that has rightfully gained the fame and acknowledgement it has received over the years.
Its creator was Gianlorenzo Bernini, the famous sculptor whose works can be seen throughout Rome. The fountain depicts the four great rivers of the continents known in the world at that time: the Ganges represents Asia, the Nile Africa, Rio de la Plata the Americas, and the Danube Europe. Each river is represented by a god surrounded by flora and fauna. The obelisk standing in the middle stands approximately 70 feet tall and is topped with a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit and an emblem of the pope that commissioned the fountain.
Urban legend, fed by a famous rivalry between Bernini and artist Borromini, only propogates the fountain's fame. It is believed that the statue of the Nile covered its head so as not to look at the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, designed by Borromini and located in front of the fountain. The Rio de la Plata appears to raise its hand to defend itself from a possible collapse of the church and the statue of Sant' Agnese on the facade of the church with her hand on her chest reassures the Rio de la Plata of the church's stability.
The travertine masterpiece is a marvel to behold. Beyond the amazing detail and imagination the artist captured is a fountain that brims with energy in spite of its age. Visible signs of wear and tear are hardly seen. With restoration finally complete, the fountain today gleams tirelessly.
Planning a trip to Italy? Click here to find out how I can help make your vacation a unique postcard in your travel scrapbook!