Realised in different periods, they are due to the talent and creativity of two great masters of art and architectural history of St. Peter's Square: Carlo Maderno, author of the facade of the basilica, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the great protagonist of the Baroque, who was also responsible for the ingenious arrangement of the square.
The fountain on the right, looking from Via della Conciliazione, was built by Maderno in 1614 after completing the imposing 17th-century facade of the basilica. The architect reused the elements of a pre-existing 15th-century fountain, eliminated three steps, and placed the structure on an octagonal base. He had the brilliant idea of overturning the upper basin so that the falling water shattered, creating a myriad of jets and an original and iridescent veil effect.
In the second half of the 17th century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini had the Maderno fountain relocated to its current position, in line with the new geometries of the square. The brilliant artist created a second work faithful to the model of the previous one, inaugurated in 1677. It differs only in the decoration of the stem, leaving his unique signature in the darting dolphins that decorate the base octagon.
In the past, the two fountains had powerful water jets that reached a height of eight meters. The pressure was reduced in the second half of the 20th century with a recycling system to eliminate waste commissioned by Pope Paul VI.
Discovering the 7 most unusual and curious fountains in the Capital
I maestri dell’arte - Itinerari romani sulle tracce dei grandi artisti
To find out about all accessibility services, visit the Rome accessible section.