Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers Fountain), Rome

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers Fountain), Rome (must see)

The focal point of Navona Square, the Four Rivers Fountain has been in place since the 17th century. While Rome has a longstanding affinity for fountains, dating back to antiquity, the Baroque era brought a new dimension to these water features, showcasing the generosity of the papacy. In the case of the Four Rivers Fountain, Pope Innocent X, renowned for his political acumen, entrusted the task to one of the most innovative artists of the time—Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the son of Pietro Bernini and a sculptor and architect in his own right. The result was Rome's pinnacle achievement in fountain design, a symbolic masterpiece brimming with the dynamic and dramatic elements sought after by Baroque artists.

At the base of the fountain lies a basin, and from its center emerge rocks supporting four river gods. Above them, an ancient Egyptian obelisk is crowned with the papal family emblem—a dove holding an olive twig. Collectively, the four gods represent the major rivers of the continents over which papal authority had extended at that time: the Nile symbolizing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Rio de la Plata representing the Americas.

The design of each god's figure carries symbolic meaning. The Ganges is depicted holding a long oar, symbolizing the river's navigability. The Nile's head is adorned with a loosely draped piece of cloth, signifying the mystery surrounding the exact source of the river during that era. The Danube touches the papal coat of arms, as it is the largest river near Rome. Finally, the Rio de la Plata sits atop a pile of coins, symbolizing the wealth of the Americas.

Tip:
To capture the essence of this fountain in photographs, it is recommended to shoot from various angles and positions, so as to get as much detail as possible. With ample space surrounding the fountain, take your time to find the perfect shot—or perhaps even multiple perfect shots. Additionally, the surrounding piazza offers an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and excellent gelato places to indulge in while enjoying the lively atmosphere.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rome. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers Fountain) on Map

Sight Name: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers Fountain)
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain

An established tourist mecca, today's Rome is hardly imaginable without two of its much loved attractions – the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Magnets for tourists as they are, these two sights are connected to a number of other, not less worthy of attention locations, such as the Fountain of the Longboat or Piazza Colonna and its centerpiece, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, to...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour

EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour

The Esposizione Universale di Roma (EUR), located in the southern suburb of Rome, was originally constructed for an international exhibition that was planned by Mussolini as a grand celebration of Fascist Italy. However, due to the outbreak of World War II, the exhibition never took place. The architecture of EUR was designed to glorify Fascism and showcases a distinct style that sets it apart...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Heading down from the Vatican along the River Tiber, one is bound to find yet another city hidden within the city – Trastevere. This name translates literally to "across the Tiber". Indeed, crossing the picturesque Ponte Sisto (Sisto Bridge) to the west bank, you will find yourself in a charming neighborhood with a distinct character that sets it apart from any other part of Rome.

...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

In Rome there is a lively piazza round almost every corner, each with its own unique atmosphere and its own story to tell. These public squares have been the center of Roman culture for centuries, and some of the city’s most popular attractions are located within them.

Most piazzas have a fountain in the center and a lot of cafes around. In fact, Rome holds the largest number of fountains in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Holy Sites Walking Tour

Holy Sites Walking Tour

As the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's largest organizations, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each of its churches and basilicas represent a significant part of culture and history.

Take this self-guided walking tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage,...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 Km or 4.3 Miles
Vatican Walking Tour

Vatican Walking Tour

Consisting of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the Vatican is the world’s smallest sovereign state, as well as a symbol (and headquarters) of the Roman Catholic faith. Although only 44 hectares in surface, one is amazed by the vastness of this place and the sheer size of everything. When gazing around in all directions, you realize how much can be achieved by people working in faith for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles

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