The overpowering density of tourist sights in the Vatican is complemented, amongst others, by the so-called Fontana della Pigna. The centerpiece of this fountain consists of a gigantic pine cone-shaped sculpture, originally located near the Temple of Isis. Before being moved, in 1608, to the nowadays location, that is, Cortile della Pigna (which is, in fact, a section of Bramante’s Cortile del Belvedere), the cone used to adorn the courtyard of the Saint Peter’s Basilica.

The cone is flanked by two peacocks of bronze, imitating the sculptures which used to adorn Castel Sant’Angelo (now showcased at one of the Vatican Museums). Underneath the pedestal of the cone, the supporting structure features the figure of a man from the mouth of whom water sprouts, flowing in a small semicircular basin. The face is centrally located in the niche delineated by two rows of pilasters. The two side extremities of the fountain are pegged out by lions looking at the square, each placed on free standing podiums.

Fontana della Pigna was used as model for a namesake free standing fountain (Fontanella della Pigna), located in the Pigna district of Rome, designed by Pietro Lombardi in 1927.

Fontana della Pigna (Pine Cone Fountain)
Cortile della Pigna, Vatican