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Fountain at Piazza Pietro d’Illiria

As we see it today, the beautiful fountain leaning against a niche in the boundary wall of Savello Park, better known as the Orange Garden, dates back to the 1930s. The fountain has however a particular history, since it is made of two older, reused pieces.

In the center of a rectangular basin, slightly recessed from the street level, is an elegant Roman granite thermal basin, adorned with bas-relief handles. The mask with frowning eyelashes and thick mustache that surmounts it, on the other hand, was sculpted in 1593 by Bartolomeo Bassi, based on a design by Giacomo della Porta, to decorate a fountain located in the Campo Vaccino, the name by which the Roman Forum was known at the time.

In the first half of the 19th century, the fountain in the Forum was dismantled by Pope Pius VII Chiaramonti, and the mask was reused for a fountain erected on the right bank of the Tiber at the Leonine port. It remained there only until 1897, when this latter fountain was also dismantled for the construction of the river walls.

The sculpture thus ended up in municipal storage, and here it was finally recovered in 1936 by architect Antonio Muñoz, who used it to further embellish the square on the Aventine Hill overlooked by the entrance to the church of Santa Sabina and Savello Park.


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Fontana in Piazza Pietro D’illiria, Piazza Pietro d'Illiria
Piazza Pietro d'Illiria
41° 53' 3.876" N, 12° 28' 48.5292" E


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