Sunday, September 05, 2010

Restored and Refreshed! - Part I

Three years ago now on one of my first Sundays here in Roma - it was perishing hot and so many things were closed because it was ferragosto - I remember heading down to Centro for a look around. In those days home was on Via Asmara about 3 kms from the city walls and a number 60 bus went almost in a straight line down to the Centro Storico. Within the walls where Via 20 Settembre meets Largo Santa Susanna the bus made a right hand turn. There built into the wall on the left was an enormous fountain - enormous but dirty and dry. The calcium in the water here had obviously clogged the system - god only knows what it does to ours - and the exhaust spewed out from the constant traffic jam at that intersection had added several inches of grim onto the sculptured figures and dulled the detail. It was magnificent if somewhat grandiose but sad and neglected.

At that point I commented that it was a shame such a monumental piece of work had been let fall into that state and railed a bit about a government that wouldn't do anything about it.

Fast forward a year later and low and behold:
And so it has been for the past year and a half - until last week. Without fanfare or publicity the scaffolding was removed and the restored and refreshed Mostra dell'Acqua Felice was revealed.

Guiseppe Visi's engraving shows the Piazza as it was in the mid-1700s. On the left the Church of Santa Susanna, at the centre the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria and to the right the Mostra dell'Acqua Felice. The convent joining the two churches was demolished in the 1920s to make way for road connecting Piazza Barberini with Termini, the central railway station.

The Mostra (better known as the Fontana di Moses) was built in 1587 by the appropriately named Domenico Fontana as a monument to mark the spot where the new acquaduct - Acqua Felice - built by Sextus V entered the city to provide the Quirinale with a supply of water. The above engraving by Guiseppe Vasi is taken from a wonderful website that follows the engraver's tour of Rome and allows us as creator Roberto Piperno says: To Follow In the Footsteps of a XVII Century traveler.

I often thing that early morning is the best time to see Rome - little traffic and few people - so yesterday morning I headed out early to take some photos of the restored Fountain. I'll be sharing them and a few more notes about it later today or early tomorrow.

05 settembre - Madre Teresa di Calcutta


Anonymous said...

I want to see the restored fountain. Do you have a picture?


Sling said...

I think it's fantastic that you have access to such aamazing history and architecture Wills.
I'm looking forward to the restoration pics!