Wednesday, May 5, 2010

piazza mattei

the turtle fountain

The recently restored Renaissance fountain "of the turtles" was designed by Giocomo della Porta in 1581 and built by the sculptor Thaddeus Landini. The bronze figures are standing on four dolphins. Originally there were to be eight dolphins, but the water pressure was insuffiicent, so only four were installed. With the removal of the four extra dolphins, the upraised hands of the statues seemed to have no purpose.

So perhaps to correct this problem and balance the composition, in 1658 Pope Alexander VII commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini or Andrea Sacchi to cast an addition: the turtles.

When in 1979 one of turtles was stolen, the remaining originals were replaced by copies.

I love this piazza. I come here to sit and enjoy the water play, the silence of the adjacent streets. And the nearby Antico Forno bread bakery...

For more Watery Wednesday images, click HERE


  1. 1581? Oh how wonderful that it's been restored!!! I like it a lot.

    We went birding last's post for my blog is all kinds of coastal bird photos. Do take a side trip over to my place if you can find some time to view many waterfowl.


    Have a super day my friend.

  2. This is indeed great shot and very informative blog.

  3. Indeed, a very inviting place - and «Louis» would love to check out the bakery!

  4. Absolutely beautiful! It has to be so amazing to live there! I've scrolled thru your blog & love the scenes - I'm going to follow your blog & add it to my blog list, so I can come back often!

  5. Anni~ Off to visit your feathered friends now! Thanks for the link.
    Gunn~ Thank you!
    ilovepink~ Come back soon then!
    «Louis»~ Oh boy, you'd go crazy for the torta di ricotta with either chocolate or visciole (sour cherries)...
    Tricia~ Thank you for visiting, for your kind comment and for the follow!! Ciao

  6. One of my favorite fountains in Rome and it was boarded up for so long while they were repairing it that I was sad to see the plywood every time I walked by it. But now it brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

  7. When in Rome there was a strong feeling that all the history characters are walking around me along this city fantastic streets.
    What a pleasure to see your next post.
    PS My comment's word verification is "elitte". Very true:-)

  8. The bar on the piazza that you can see in the background is a great place to hang out at night (Bartaruga). Fascinating crowd and good drinks. I'm not so happy about the new bright spotlights on the fountain at night however.

  9. Lovely fountain. I'd like to hang out in this piazza. ;-)


  10. I enjoy your blog so much. I always wonder what I will find each day at Roma Every Day.

    This was my favorite fountain in Rome. I dragged my poor mom from Trastevere to find this "little jewel". Thank you for sharing.

  11. That's a beautiful little fountain with an interesting story behind it.

  12. Beautiful fountain. I can understand why you like to sit there and enjoy the sound of the water and quiet.

  13. Came upon this fountain one night by accident. It was a cold and dark night, but the charm of this little piazza had me transfixed.

    Read your magazine article. Appealing and well written. I bookmarked the site and hope to see your byline again. You should create a link to it.


  14. CCLinda~ It's beautiful now, especially in the early morning.
    Irina~ It's true, I feel the same way sometimes.
    Rob&Mandy~ Grazie della visita!
    Erik~ I haven't been at night since the renovation. Extravagant Bartaruga is fun, I agree.
    Paz~ It's so peaceful...
    Deborah~ How sweet! And thank you for your kind comment.
    Loree~ Glad you enjoyed!
    CluelessIB~ It's a magical place.
    ODP~ Thank you! I'm glad you liked the article. It will be a monthly installment, and yes, I have linked to it in my sidebar :)

    Ciao a tutti!

  15. Preciosa fuente, una de las muchas que tienes en Roma...un abrazo

  16. Thanks for the tip about the bakery. we'll try it tomorrow...

  17. Great post about a beautiful and interesting fountain. I think adding the turtles was a good call.

  18. It does look peaceful, in fact I'm surprised to not see people in the background. Very pretty.

  19. hard to believe such a beautiful square remains silent! Nice...

  20. Catarina~ Gracias, mi hermana
    VP~ Are you in Rome?! For how much longer? (Does the word aperitivo ring loudly in your ear or is it just me?)
    Gogouci~ I agree, good for old Alex VII.
    T.Beque~ It's small and quite well hidden from the nearby tour-bus type masses.
    Ken Mac~ In the early morning it's the best, by midday few sparse travelers (most usually lost) happen upon the tiny little square.


  21. What a beautiful water fountain to show us on Watery Wednesday! Makes me want to stroll through the streets of Roma and explore!

  22. Quiet streets somehow seems to me an oxymoron in Rome -:) However, off the beaten path is one of my favorite routes to follow. I agree about the empty outstretched arms ... pity that some people feel the need to vandalize public art!!

  23. Sorry, we're leaving tomorrow but... we'll be back!

  24. what a pretty place.thanks for sharing

  25. oh wow, I'm new to your blog, and absolutely love it! You're an amazing photographer and I love your commentary. Great work!

  26. Nice pic ! I love the Ghetto area and the Turtle Fountain is my favorite fountain in Rome.

  27. This fountain has a little secret...and a nice legend to tell! :-) Read that here:


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