Fountain of the Four Rivers, Rome

Fountain of the Four Rivers, Rome (must see)

The centerpiece of Piazza Navona, the Fountain of the Four Rivers has been in place since the 17th century. While Rome’s love affair with fountains, in general, goes back to the antiquity, during the Baroque era it took another twist in which Roman fountains appeared as a reflection of papal generosity. In the case of the Four Rivers Fountain, Pope Innocent X, one of the most politically astute Pontiffs, commissioned to the job one of the most innovative artists of the era – sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the son of Pietro Bernini. The end result proved to be Rome's greatest achievement in the genre of fountain-making, delivering an emblematic piece replete with all the dynamic and dramatic elements sought by Baroque artists.

At the base of the fountain is a basin from the center of which rise the rocks supporting four river gods and, above them, there's an ancient Egyptian obelisk surmounted with the papal family emblem – a dove with an olive twig. Collectively, the four gods represent four major rivers of the four continents over which papal authority had spread by that time, namely: the Nile of Africa, the Danube of Europe, the Ganges of Asia, and the Rio de la Plata of the Americas.

The design of each god's figure is quite symbolic. The Ganges carries a long oar, representing the river's navigability. The Nile's head is draped with a loose piece of cloth, meaning that no one at that time knew exactly where the Nile's source was. The Danube touches the papal coat of arms, since this is the largest of the rivers close to Rome. And the Rio de la Plata sits upon a pile of coins, the symbol of America's riches.

Tip:
To capture this fountain on picture, one has to shoot repeatedly from different angles and positions, so as to get as much detail as possible.
Fortunately, there is plenty of free space around, so one should really just take their time to get a perfect shot... or two, or three...
The surrounding piazza is full of restaurants/cafes and excellent gelato places can be found.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Rome, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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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Fountain of the Four Rivers on Map

Sight Name: Fountain of the Four Rivers
Sight Location: Rome, Italy
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.
Fountains and Squares Walk

Fountains and Squares Walk

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
Food Walk in Historic Rome

Food Walk in Historic Rome

Whether it’s a long lunch or a stop-off for an ice cream on an evening stroll, eating in Rome is a very social activity. Culinary traditions run deep in Rome, and it may well be one of Italy’s most pleasurable cities in which to eat. Most restaurants exclusively serve Italian or Roman cuisine – either traditional or “with a touch of creativity” – with more and more choosing organic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
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 surrounded with a number of other, not less worthy of attention locations, such as the Fountain of the Longboat, Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Piazza Colonna and its centerpiece, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Ancient Rome around Colosseum

Ancient Rome around Colosseum

Undoubtedly, Rome's ancient past has been the main Roman attraction for centuries, drawing millions of tourists to the Eternal City each year. The Colosseum and the surrounding sights, like the Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, Imperial Fora, Roman Forum and other monuments – or rather what's left of them now – are the stately reminders of what was once the center of one of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" (1953) is a movie, filmed entirely in Rome and beloved by generations of people. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the film won three Oscars, giving Hepburn a boost to her glorious film career. The main storyline centers around a day of freedom in the beautiful Italian capital for an otherwise duty-bound Princess Ann. Take the following tour to live the happiest...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 Km or 5.6 Miles
Holy Sites Walking Tour

Holy Sites Walking Tour

Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's biggest religions, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each church and basilica represents a significant part of Rome's 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

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