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main index © 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 first located near the Royal Palace near a statue of "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 Naples.)
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