Fontana della Barcaccia – English


The Fountain gives a touch of freshness to one of the most famous squares of Rome and the world: the Spanish Steps. Its unique shape, is an intellectual work of Bernini: the construction of the fountain is in fact the result of a collaboration between Peter Bernini, the true author of the project, and his son, the most famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini.


Historical notes 

The fountain is a splendid work of Pietro Bernini placed just below the steps of Trinità dei Monti in Piazza di Spagna. Originally the fountain was placed at the feet of the pincio hill just below the church of Trinita’ dei Monti and the stairway was built as the one hundred years after its creation. The theme of this work is taken up by the flood of 1598 that allowed the boats to get to the place where the fountain now stands: it also takes its name from the boats that were used in medieval times for the transport of goods along the River. It was Pope Urban VIII commissioned in 1627 to Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo Bernini helped by his son, had to overcome some technical obstacles to realize his work in that area in fact, the Virgin aqueduct water, which still feeds the fountain, had a pressure is too low to allow the construction of fountains or waterfalls. He solved this problem by designing the shape of the boat under water and placing it below the road surface with fountains that come out from the stern and the bow.


Its distinctive shape makes it unique and has made famous the works of Bernini’s father in the world. The pool, althought have a simple form offers a touch more exciting to one of the world’s most famous squares, Piazza di Spagna. The water that gushes out of a chalice constantly uppermost in the center of the building and two reliefs representing the sun and fill the boat well, and once filled the interior, the water comes out of the cannon in the bow and stern falling into the basin below, this can give the illusion that the boat floats. The intention that Pope Urban VIII wanted to convey to the faithful was clear: the boat that bears the symbols of the Barberini family which belonged to the Pope, is an allegorical representation of the Church’s mission. The cleansing water can quench the fires of the guns (the water comes from their own guns) and it alludes to the function of purifying and reconciling the Roman Church in Europe ‘by so many misguided religious conflicts.


Getting there

By public transport: From Termini station take the underground line A and for three stops to Spain.

For those traveling by car: the underground car park of Villa Borghese has in common with the output of the subway station.



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