The Fountain of the Navicella is located in the Rione Celio, in front of the church of Santa Maria in Domnica also known as "in navicula" and was built, probably from a drawing by Andrea Sansovino, in 1518-1519 on commission from Cardinal Giovanni de ‘Medici.
The ship carved in travertine replaced one in marble from the Roman age, probably an ex voto dedicated to the goddess Isis by the sailors of the nearby Castra Peregrina or those of the Castra misenatium and whose remains were found at the beginning of the 16th century near the church.
The sculpture is placed on a marble base decorated with the Medici coat of arms and a celebratory epigraph, while an animal protome is carved on the rostrum of the prow. The bottom of the basin below is made with a river pebble mosaic decorated with figures of fish and boats.
The monument was transformed into a fountain only in 1931, when the area in front of the church was rearranged.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Sovrintendenza Capitolina
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