Fontana del Moro is located in Piazza Navona, being an integral part of one of Rome’s most splendid Baroque architectural complexes. The palaces and churches aside, Piazza Navona offers a spectacular landscape: it is pegged out by three free standing monumental fountains, namely, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (designed by Bernini), Fontana del Nettuno (designed by Giacomo della Porta) and Fontana del Moro (designed by Giacomo della Porta, but significantly enhanced, in terms of decorative patrimony, by Bernini, with his statue of the Moor).

Initially, the design of Giacomo della Porta only envisaged the sculptural representations of the dolphin and of the four tritons. His design materialized in 1575, but it was complemented by the addition of the spectacular Moor several decades later (in 1653). By certain accounts, the centerpiece assembly was conceived by Bernini such as to depict Neptune, the supreme deity of water, an interpretation sustained by the symbolism of the rest of the elements (the dolphin and the four tritons). The basin which collects the water that sprouts from the mouth of the dolphin and from the tritons’ conches is made of rose marble.

What is also worth mentioning is the original centerpiece (the statue of the Moor and the dolphin) and the peripheral sculptures (the tritons) were removed from the basin and sheltered at the Borghese Gallery, following the restoration works carried out in 1874. The present statues are but mere (excellent, for that matter) copies of Bernini’s and della Porta’s works.

Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain)
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy