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Fountain of the Catechumens in Piazza Madonna dei Monti


Named after the close-by 17th-century College of Neophytes or Catechumens, the fountain that adorns Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, today the central meeting point in the Monti district, was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V, as part of his redevelopment program of the city, and designed by Giacomo Della Porta. The person chosen to actually turn Della Porta‘s design into reality was the the stone-cutter Battista Rusconi, who built it between 1588 and 1589, while the staircase compensating for the unevenness of the square is due to the subsequent intervention of Girolamo de Rossi.

The model that inspired Della Porta was the fountain of Santa Maria in Trastevere, although this fountain presents less decorative motifs. It consists of a travertine octagon-shaped pond resting on a four-step basis and decorated by the coats of arms of Sixtus V and the Municipality of Rome, testifying to the contribution of the civic administration. Each of the two shaped shafts in the center supports two basins placed one above the other. The water pours from the upper basin, decorated with masks and swags and surmounted by the trimonzio (pope Sixtus V’s coat of arms), and flows into the lower basin from which it pours into the octagonal pond through four lion heads.

The Maestro Ottorino Respighi often visited this fountain to draw inspiration for his symphonic poem Le Fontane di Roma (The Fountains of Rome).


POINT (12.490765 41.894958)
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Fontana dei Catecumeni in Piazza Madonna dei Monti, Piazza Della Madonna dei Monti
Piazza Della Madonna dei Monti
41° 53' 41.8488" N, 12° 29' 26.754" E


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