Monday, June 21, 2010

La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

The centerpiece of the Piazza Navona in Rome is Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the 4 Rivers-1651) set directly in front of Borromini's Sant'Agnese in Agone church (1653). John and I often walked by the fountain on our daily excursions into the streets of Rome. The great rivers - the Ganges, the Danube, the Nile and the Plate are represented as giants on a pyramid rock formation supporting an ancient obelisk.
The River Plate holds the coat of arms of Pope Innocent X, by whom the fountain was commissioned.
Legend says that the River Danube is shown rearing back in horror from the church designed by Bernini's rival architect, Borromini. However, the fountain was actually installed before Borromini designed Sant'Agnese in Agone.
The Nile River is represented with a veiled head since at the time the source of the Nile was as yet unknown.
Probably the most famous and most photographed of the giants represents a voluptuous, bearded Ganges River, as languorous as the slow moving river it represents.
Bernini's fountain is endless in its details and angles, changing like the water that spews from it day and night. John loved this detail of a lion drinking next to the giant Ganges River god.


  1. I'm glad you've come home... and so glad that you're still sharing your holiday with us. Delightful.

  2. Away is good and Home is good. We're glad to be home and there are lot's more pictures and stories to share. Rome was very generous to us.