Fountain of the Pantheon Rome

Piazza della Rotonda Fountain Rome

The Fountain of the Pantheon in Rome is located right in the middle of the Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon itself. The Obelisk of Ramses II occupies a central position.

Fountain of the Pantheon Rome

History and description

Fountain of the Pantheon Rome
Fountain of the Pantheon

The Fountain of the Pantheon was commissioned in 1575 by Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni, designed by Giacomo della Porta and sculpted by Leonardo Sormani. The water for the fountain comes from the old Acqua Vergine Aqueduct.

There is a marble shell on a balustrade in the middle of the tub. The shell is decorated with four sculpture groups of masks and dolphins. These were originally created for the southern fountain in the Piazza Navona.

The present version of the fountain was commissioned by Pope Clemens II Albani and designed by Filippo Barigioni. The artist used Bernini‘s Fountain of the Four Rivers as an inspiration for his design. He got rid of the balustrade and created a marble cliff with a dolphin on every corner.

Piazza della Rotonda without the Fountain of the Pantheon Rome.
A 15th century drawing shows that there was no fountain in the Piazza della Rotonda yet.

The obelisk of Ramses II was not added until much later, in 1711, when Pope Clemente XI Albani ordered Filippo Barignoni to reconstruct the fountain, by adding a rock instead of the basin and decorating the base with four dolphins by the hand of the sculptor Luigi Amici.

Like the obelisk on Bernini’s Elephant, this Macuteo Obelisk also originally stood on the Iseo Campense. This was a temple for the Egyptian Gods Isis and Serapis, built by Domitian. Until the 14th century this temple was located in front of the San Macuto Church. Domitian himself had transported this obelisk, which was made during the reign of Ramses II, from Egypt to Rome. Two more obelisks that used to decorate the Iseo Campense were the Dogali Obelisk and the obelisk in the Boboli Garden in Florence.

The coats-of-arms adorning the north and south sides of the fountain are those of the Albani family and of the Pope. The bronze star on top of the obelisk is another symbol of the Albani family.

Towards the end of the 20th century the original masks were replaced by copies. The originals, one of which stems from the 17th and the other ones from the 15th century, are on display in the Museo di Roma.

The total height of the obelisk is 14,52 meters.

Address and public transport

The fountain of the Pantheon is located in the Piazza della Rotonda. The nearest bus stop is Argentina (30, 40, 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 130F, 190F, 492, 628, 916, 916F, N5, N6, N7, N15, N20, SHOP1).

Piazza della Rotonda – Rome

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