Piazza del Pantheon, Rome, Italy
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member sherpes
N 41° 53.958 E 012° 28.608
33T E 290698 N 4641674
Quick Description: Adorned with an egyptian obelisk and located in front of one of Rome's best known monuments
Location: Lazio, Italy
Date Posted: 12/18/2008 4:04:19 PM
Waymark Code: WM5CMR
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member huggy_d1
Views: 77

Long Description:
Piazza della Rotonda is the square on whose southern side stands the Pantheon, probably Rome's most glorious ancient monument, due to its excellent state of preservation.
During the Middle Ages the number of small shops and stalls that had been built around it had gradually increased, up to the point of spoiling the place and covering the view of the important building (some had been opened even between the columns of the Pantheon's porch). Nevertheless, the central part of the square had been decorated with ancient remains, such as a couple of crouching lions, and two small basins, one of which in the shape of a tub.

These remains were taken away shortly before the making of the fountain, that began in 1575.
Della Porta's project followed his traditional scheme: a four-lobed basin, resting on a short flight of three steps; the water gushed from a vase in its center, and from four grotesque faces, the same ones that had originally been carved for piazza Navona's northern fountain, but never used.

Some 150 years later, pope Clement XI, likely inspired by the great success of the Fountain of the Rivers, decided to alter the shape of this one too, and had the central vase replaced by a larger group of rocks, with an obelisk on top, somewhat recalling Bernini's masterwork. The spire chosen for this purpose was a small one, that during the Middle Ages had been unearthed and stood in front of a nearby church, San Macuto. During the same works, the pope also changed the fountain's original base with a wider platform and a larger number of steps (five on the southern side, four on the northern side, due to the ground's slope).

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