© Jeff Matthews entry Dec. 2003
This magnificent fountain
is also known as the "Immacolatella".
Both names derive from two of the locations that have
been home to the fountain during its many travels.
(Being moved is a risk you take if you are a fountain in
Naples. Click here for
another example.) The fountain was sculpted in the early
1600s and is the work of Michelangelo Naccherino
(1559-1622) and Pietro Bernini (1562-1629). It was
nicknamed the "Giant" because it was first located near
the Royal Palace and a statue of a male figure, "The
Giant", recovered from the ruins of Cuma. In 1815
the fountain was moved to the port of Naples to be in
front of the Immacolatella,
the old quarantine station (click
here for more on that site). It was then moved
near the Carmine church at Piazza Mercato; then to the
gardens on the square of San Pasquale a Chiaia; then
finally, in 1905, when the new seaside road was finished
during the "risanamento" of
Naples the fountain was moved to its present location
(see photo) at the picturesque curve between via
Partenope and via Nazario Sauro not far from the Castel dell'Ovo.
Amid the three
rounded arches and above and on the sides of the
fountain, besides the main basin adorned with marine
life, the work is decorated with caryatids holding a
cornucopia, as well as with the coats of arms of the
city and of the Spanish vice-realm.
The Bernini involved
with this fountain is, by the way, not the Bernini of
the great colonnade of St. Peter's in Rome. That would
be Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). This Bernini
—Pietro— was his father.
(More on the Fountains of