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.

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 iTunes App Store or Google Play. 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 (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
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

A movie beloved by generations of people, "Roman Holiday" (1953) was filmed entirely in Rome and starred two of Hollywood's greatest icons: Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The romantic comedy would go on to earn three Oscars, including a best actress trophy for Hepburn, who is entirely sympathetic in a role that could have been off-putting. The main storyline centers on a day of...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 Km or 5.6 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
Rome Shopping Streets Walking Tour

Rome Shopping Streets Walking Tour

Loved by tourists for its busy fashionable streets and significant baroque icons, the so-called ‘Tridente’ is one of the Eternal City's most lusted-after areas, formed by Via dei Condotti, Via Borgognona, Via Frattina and the adjacent Via del Corso. It is perhaps the most high-end destination for Roman shopping, with a concentration of renowned jewelers and important Italian/international...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Food Tasting Walking Tour

Food Tasting Walking Tour

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 here, and it may well be one of Italy’s most pleasurable cities in which to eat. Deli shops, prosciutterias, pizzerias, fornos (bakeries) and caffès are also very popular and offer a great alternative to a restaurant meal.

On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 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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