The Testaccio Fountain or Pius IX Fountain is located in the Lungotevere Testaccio in Rome. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Pius IX, to celebrate (and brag about) having the walls along the river Tiber constructed.
Testaccio Fountain Rome (or Pius IX Fountain)
History and description
The Fontana di Pio IX a Testaccio in the district of the same name was built in 1869, when Pius IX Mastai was Pope. The fountain is dedicated to the archaeologist Pietro Ercole Visconti, in gratitude for excavating large quantities of marble objects that would later be used to decorate the town’s buildings.
The basin itself is a Roman sarcophagus dating back to the third century AD. The water flows from a lion’s head, which is embedded in brick the wall against which the sarcophagus stands. The wall itself is flanked by marble pillars. At the very top you can see the coat of arms of the Pope.
Above the lion’s head is a wide memorial plaque with an inscription in Latin claiming that Pope Pius IX, in the 23rd year of his pontificate, recovered the steps of the Emporium and, by means of a wall built by himself, made them usable for the people. (The Emporium was the old, now non-existent harbour in what is now the present-day Testaccio district).
During the turn of the century the fountain was severely damaged in a failed robbery.