Fountain of the Lions Rome

Fountain of the Lions

Originally the Fountain of the Lions at the bottom of the Cordonata (steps leading up to the Capitoline Hill) in Rome was not a fountain at all.

Fountain of the Lions Rome

Fountain of the Lions
One of the Lions.

The two black lions were placed there in 1562, on top of the bases which had been designed by Giacomo della Porta. Before that they guarded the entrance to the Santo Stefano del Cacco church.

In 1587 after the Acqua Felice aqueduct had been extended to the Capitoline Hill the two lions were changed into fountains. A year later the two shells catching the water coming out of the lions’ mouths, designed by Camillo Rusconi and sculpted by Francesco Scardua,  were added.

In those days the fountains dispensing free water for the citizens of Rome were often symbolic of the wealth and benevolence of the important (papal) families of the city and the Fountain of the Lions was no exception. When the Popes Innocent X Pamphili and Clement X Altieri were elected they had the fountains spout red and white wine instead of water.

Piazza d’Aracoeli Rome

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