Fountain of the Bees Rome

Fountain of the Bees

Apart from the more famous Fontana del Tritone there is another fountain near Piazza Barberini in Rome. The Fountain of the Bees is located at the beginning of the Via Vittorio Veneto and, like its more famous cousin, was created by Bernini.

Fountain of the Bees Rome

Fountain of the Bees
Fountain of the Bees

The Fontana delle Api is a small, but rather elegant fountain. It was constructed in the year 1644, in honor of Pope Urban VIII Barberini.

The large bees that give the fountain its name are there because the bee was the symbol of the Barberini family. (The bee, by the way, was not always the symbol of the family. Originally this was the rather less poetic horsefly.)

The name of Urban VIII himself is written on the sea-shell that is the main feature of the Fountain of the Bees. The inscription on the shell states that the fountain’s water is meant for use of the people (and their animals).

The inscription also states that the fountain was constructed in the 21st year of Urban’s papacy. Bernini initially had written that it was the 22nd year. This was considered a bad omen, since the 22nd year had not been completely yet. Bernini changed the inscription, but it was too late. The pope died 8 days before completing the 22nd year of his papacy.

The present spot is not where the Fountain of the Bees started its existence. Originally it stood on the corner of Piazza Barberini and the Via Sistina, but was taken away in 1865, not to be rebuilt until 1915. In the meantime it was kept in a warehouse, where it was severely damaged. Only a small part of the shell and one of the bees survived.

Adolfo Apolloni, who was in charge of the reconstruction, used a different kind of marble from the original. This marble was taken from the demolished Porta Salaria.

Public transportation

The Fontana delle Api stands at the beginning of the Via Veneto. The nearest metro stop is Barberini (line A). The nearest bus stop is Barberini (lines 61, 62, 85, 492, 590, N1, N5, N12).

Fountain of the Bees – Via Veneto, Rome

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