The Monument Fountains
I was saddened by an
article in the paper entitled "Monument Fountains: a
treasure that is vanishing." In a modern big city
today, public fountains are largely ornamental. Yet,
until the advent of the modern Serino
aqueduct system in the 1880s, most Neapolitans
(that is, those who didn't have private cisterns in
their courtyards that tapped into the older aqueduct)
did what many people all over the world still do—walk
to the nearest public fountain with some buckets and
draw water. There were many smaller fountains as well
as an ample number of what today are called "monument
fountains"—big and beautiful, usually going back to
the Spanish renovations in the city in the 1600s. Many
of the smaller fountains have long since fallen into
disuse and are eyesores, often victims of wanton
vandalism and refuse dumping. (The "vanishing
treasures" mentioned in the article were, indeed, two
fountains recently vandalized beyond repair; they are
not among those shown below.) The city has taken a bit
of care (it could take more) to ensure that the larger
monument fountains are kept up such that they add
somewhat of an aesthetic touch to the city. The Naples
water board in many cases has refurbished the water
pipes and pumps such that water still flows. (Indeed,
there is nothing worse than looking at a fountain with
no water. Beyond aesthetics, the working fountains are
good places to sit and cool off in the summer.)
Among the important fountains that have served the
city—some for centuries—are:
The Fountain of Neptune (left)—
This is one of the most widely "travelled"
fountains in the city. (Click here for
a separate item. Yes, it has moved again.)
The Fountain of
the Little King (right) —Dedicated to
Charles II of
Hapsburg, the fountain was built in 1670.
|The Sebeto Fountain
(left)—Named for the
ancient river that flowed in Naples, the
fountain was designed by Cosimo Fanzago, the
great 18th-century architect; the actual
construction was completed by his son, Carlo.
It was originally located in the Santa Lucia
area but was moved to its current location at
the port of Mergellina
The Fountain of
Santa Lucia (right)— Commissioned by
viceroy Juan Alfonso Pimente at the beginning
of the 17th century, the fountain was
originally located on what is today via
Cesario Console, the street that leads from
the Royal palace to Santa Lucia. It was moved
once, and then again in 1895 to its current
location on the grounds of the Villa Comunale. It
is by Michelangelo Naccherino (1550-1622).
"The Giant" (left)—Another fountain
that gets around a lot. (See here for a separate item).
The Fountain of
Orestes and Electra (right)—This is
one of the many 19th-century fountains built
on classical models. It was created in 1840 by
and Angelo Violani. it is on the grounds of
the Villa Comunale
near the Dohrn Aquarium.
|The Four Lions (left)—The
basin was moved from the temple of Poseidon in
Paestum; the statues of the lions are by
Pietro Bianchi, designer of the church of San
Francesco di Paola. The fountain was put
into the Villa
Comunale in 1825.
(right)—Created by Onofrio Buccino in 1869.
Moved to its current location in Piazza
Sannazzaro in 1924 at the entrance to the new
tunnel to Fuorigrotta. Parthenope was the
mythological siren for whom the original city
was named (before becoming "Neapolis"). The
fountain was recently restored by the
Brancaccio Association under the guidance of
film director Lina
|The Triton Fountain (left)—a
relatively recent (1934) addition to the
fountains of Naples, created by Carlo De Veroli. It is
in the public gardens at Piazza Cavour near
the National Museum
and shows Triton, the merman sea god spouting
water from a conch—his "wreathed horn,"
as Wordsworth called it.
fountain (right)— meaning
"artichoke," a nickname given to this fountain
the moment it went up in the 1950s at the
behest of major Achille
Lauro. The nickname is derived from the
appearance of the top of the fountain. It is
located at Piazza
Trieste e Trento (aka San Ferdinando)
near the Royal Palace.
Also see, Twin Fountains -
sort of. There are a number of others, but these
are among the most prominent.
Also see, the Santa
Caterina a Formiello fountain, restored in April
Off-site info: Also see "The Art of Science of Water"
recent copy of Saudi Aramco World.
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