Fontana di Piazza d’Ara Coeli was designed by the star architect of 16th century Rome, Giacomo della Porta. Despite the several important restoration works the fountain has undergone in time, it is still deemed one of the most elegant creations of the Porlezza-born artist. This simple Renaissance fountain was built in 1589, but in materializing the design, Giacomo della Porta collaborated with sundry sculptors of the time, such as Andrea Brasca, Pietro Gucci, and Pace Naldini.

The construction of this fountain was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V. The fountain was made entirely of marble and travertine, consisting of two superimposed basins. The center of the circular upper basin (which is the smaller of the two) is filled by an amphora surrounded by four cherubs facing the four sides of the square. The coat of arms of Rome, as well as the insignia of the Chigi family, is featured on this fountain (the coat of arms of the Chigi family was carved as token of gratitude for the involvement of Pope Alexander VI, born of this family, in the restoration project of the Acqua Felice aqueduct). Initially, the base of the fountain consisted of superimposed stairs, which is not the case today: the restoration works carried out in time, in particular because the area where the fountain is located (the base of the Capitoline Hill) was, it too, changed in the course of history, in order to make way to the increasing motorized traffic (in the 19th century, in particular), altered the initial base stairs. At present, the base of the fountain is a larger basin enclosed by a metal fence-like structure with stone insertions.

Fontana di Piazza d’Ara Coeli
Piazza d’Ara Coeli, Rome, Italy