Piazza Barberini. Triton Fountain, Rome

Piazza Barberini. Triton Fountain, Rome

Piazza Barberini gets its name from one of Rome's most powerful Renaissance-era families who, since 1625, took over the square and made it an addition to their residential palace (now housing the National Gallery of Ancient Art). One of the Barberini sons eventually became Pope Urban VIII, famous for his persecution of Galileo Galilei, who invented the telescope and “heretically” claimed the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Nevertheless, the Pope had plans to build several fountains in Rome, and in 1642 Gian Lorenzo Bernini was given patronage over the one standing in this square, now counted among his masterpieces. In building the fountain, Bernini closely followed the instructions of the Pope, who was inspired by a passage in Book I of “Metamorphose” by the famous Roman poet, Ovid. The passage Bernini was asked to put into sculpture describes Triton commanding the waters to retreat after the Deluge, at the same time calling back the world to order and peace.

The fountain was sculpted in travertine – a type of limestone formed by hot springs – and depicts the magnificent Triton as a merman as he kneels on the tails of four dolphins. In his hand is a conch shell that he is raising to his lips like a trumpet.

The four dolphins that form the base in the center of the basin are entwined around the Papal Tiara and crossed keys, below which you can see the Barberini heraldic symbol of bees.

The fountain is unique in that it was the first free-standing thematic fountain to be sculpted outside private gardens. At that time, public fountains were rather plain, unassuming affairs, but Pope Urban VIII wanted something a bit more spectacular outside his family home. The Triton Fountain immediately gave a strong scenic sense to the whole square, becoming a beacon for people coming from the city center.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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Piazza Barberini. Triton Fountain on Map

Sight Name: Piazza Barberini. Triton 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

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Rome Introduction Walking Tour I

Rome Introduction Walking Tour I

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus who were raised by a she-wolf. However, the pair argued about who had the support of the gods, and Romulus ended up killing Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill. Thus, Romulus named the city after himself and declared himself as king.

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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
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
Rome Introduction Walking Tour II

Rome Introduction Walking Tour II

The historic center of Rome is packed with numerous landmarks and genuine works of art, to see all of which may take days if not weeks. This Rome Introduction Walk II highlights some of the key sights emerged during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, comprising some truly magnificent marvels of architecture. Among the featured landmarks here are the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 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
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

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