The Fountain of the Books (Fontanella dei Libri) was built close to the Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza University in the center of Rome. The fountain was designed by Pietro Lombardi, who had been assigned to construct various fountains for a number of districts.
Fountain of the Books Rome
Address: Via degli Staderari – Rome. Opening time and admission: The fountain can be seen from outside.
History and description
In 1927 the city of Rome ordered the architect to design a number of fountains that were to symbolize a typical characteristic, trade or skill practised in the various districts. The other ones are the Fontana delle Anfore, the Fountain of the Arts, the Tiara Fountain, the Fontana della Pigna, the Cannonball Fountain, the Fontana dei Monti, the Fontana della Botte en de Fontana del Timone.
The Fountain of the Books itself is placed inside a niche. Lombardi used the typical Roman white travertino marble for his design, which consists of a deer’s head with two antique books on each side. The deer’s head is the symbol of the Saint’Eustachio district and also appears in its coat-of-arms. The four books are a reference to the nearby university. Four jets of water fall from bookmark-shaped spouts into a basin.
A horizontal inscription between the deer’s antlers shows the name Sant’Eustachio. However the vertical inscription gives the incorrect numeral IV, which should have been VIII, since Sant’Eustachio Rome’s 8th rione.
The street where the Fountain of the Books can be found is named after the makers of different kinds of scales. A stadere was a precision balance with one short and one longer arm. The weight was attached to the longer arm.
Before it got its present name the Via degli Staderari used to be called Via dell’Università, thanks to the adjacent Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza University. In those days there was another street called Via degli Staderari. It ran parallel to the present one, but was destroyed when the Palazzo Madama needed to be enlarged.