Fontana della Botte Rome

The Fontana della Botte is found in the Via della Cisterna in the Roman quarter of Trastevere. It is incorporated in a brick wall and framed by an arch made of travertine marble.

Fontana della Botte Rome

The fountain consists of a base, supporting a barrel (botte). This barrel, which was called caratello in the times of the ancient Roman Empire, was used for transporting wine. On each side of the barrel stands a tubbo, which at the time was a liter of wine. The old Roman measures had beautiful names, like the sottovoce or the sospiro (a 10th of a liter), the chirichetto (a fifth of a liter), a quarto (then and now a quart of a liter) and a fojetta, which was half a liter. My favorite one is a Barzilai (2 liters), which was named after a politician who used to give away wine in election times.

The Fontana della Botte was made in 1927 by the architect Pietro Lombardi. The city of Rome in those days had commissioned a number of fountains all over the city and the design of those fountains had to refer to the main activity or characteristic of the area where they were to be placed. Already in those days Trastevere was known as an area with many trattorie and osterie, so therefore the wine motif was chosen for its fountain. Other examples are the Fontana delle Anfore (vases), the Fontana dei Libri (books), the Fontana delle Arti (arts) and even the Fontana delle Palle di Cannone, or the “Fountain of the Cannonballs”.

Via della Cisterna – Rome

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