famous fountains in Italy (Trevi Fountain, Rome)

20 Most Famous Italian Fountains: Must-Visits in Italy

Are you in search of the most famous fountains in Italy? If so, you’ve landed at the perfect place! Italy, with its vibrant history and iconic artistry, is home to some of the world’s most stunning monumental fountains.

Why take my word for it? As an expert traveler born and raised in Italy, I’ve spent many hours exploring these beautiful monuments. Through extensive research and personal experiences, I’ve acquired a deep appreciation for these mesmerizing masterpieces.

The Significance of Fountains in Italy

These most famous Italian fountains are not just decorative elements but historical landmarks that showcase the nation’s rich artistic and architectural legacy. Each one has a story to tell, whether it be of royal celebrations, divine myths, or civic triumphs. They’ve witnessed the passage of time, survived wars and natural calamities, and stood as silent spectators to the bustling life around them.

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What to Expect in This Guide

This comprehensive list you’re about to embark on covers a wide range of fountains, selected based on their historical significance, artistic and architectural value, cultural importance, and popularity among visitors.

We delve into each fountain’s significance, unique features, history, and associated rituals or traditions. Ready to take the plunge? Let’s dive in!

1. Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) – Rome

La Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

As an Italian-born travel expert, I am fond of Rome’s majestic Trevi Fountain. By many considered the most famous fountain in the world, Trevi’s Fountain’s grandeur and rich history make it an unmissable gem in the heart of Italy’s capital.

Historical and Artistic Significance

The construction of the Trevi Fountain, undertaken by multiple architects over the years, reached its culmination under Italian architect Nicola Salvi’s and Giuseppe Pannini’s supervision from 1732 to 1766.

This grand undertaking served as a tribute to the legacies of three notable Popes: Pope Urban VIII, who initiated the project in 1629, Pope Clement XII, who provided continued support, and Pope Clement XIII, who witnessed its completion.

The fountain’s centerpiece features a magnificent statue of Oceanus, the god of water, seated in a shell-like chariot drawn by two seahorses. Flanking him are personifications of Health and Abundance, enhancing the allegorical ensemble’s grandeur.

The intricate details and thoughtful design make the Trevi Fountain one of the most beautiful fountains you’ll ever see, embedded with a majestic aura impossible to forget.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

The fountain’s cinematic appearances in classics like Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and “Roman Holiday” have undoubtedly catapulted its fame. La Dolce Vita’s iconic scene of actress Anita Ekberg wading through the fountain endures as one of cinema’s most unforgettable moments.

Yet, its allure extends beyond the silver screen to a popular tradition rooted in folklore. Legend says tossing a coin with your right hand into the fountain over your left shoulder guarantees your return to Rome.

So deeply ingrained is this custom that an astounding average of 3,000 euros in coins are retrieved from the fountain daily! The coins collected are put to good use, too, funding charity projects spearheaded by the Italian Red Cross.

Visiting Experience

While any time is a good time to visit the Trevi Fountain in Piazza di Trevi, I particularly enjoy the quiet early mornings or late evenings when the illuminated water against the night sky evokes a magical charm.

Ultimately, the Trevi Fountain is not just about beholding an architectural masterpiece. Still, it’s also about participating in a tradition that connects you to the countless dreamers before you, promising a return to this eternal city.

As I fondly recall the moment I tossed my coin, I can’t help but hope your visit to Trevi Fountain, steeped in history and mystique, is as captivating as mine was.

2. Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) – Rome

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers)

The vibrant Piazza Navona is always a delightful experience on my numerous trips to Rome. The square is home to an artistic masterpiece – the Fountain of the Four Rivers, a testament to Italy’s rich artistic heritage.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Commissioned by Pope Innocent X and masterfully crafted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of history’s renowned sculptors, the fountain is a grand allegory of the four greatest rivers across the continents known in the 17th century – the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata.

The lifelike statues, perched atop a large rock from a circular basin, are each flanked by representations of flora and fauna unique to their respective regions. A towering obelisk crowns this architectural marvel, lending it a commanding presence.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

While no specific rituals or traditions are associated with the Fountain of the Four Rivers, its location in Piazza Navona, a hub of cultural activity and social gatherings, adds a sense of vivacity that visitors can’t help but get caught up in.

Visiting Experience

Piazza Navona is always buzzing, but I recommend visiting in the early morning hours for a more serene experience of the fountain. Surrounded by historical buildings, vibrant cafes, and local artists, the Fountain of the Four Rivers offers more than just a visual treat.

It’s a chance to immerse yourself in Rome’s heartbeat, soaking up the blend of art, history, and modern life that defines this eternal city. After all, each visit to the fountain, much like Rome itself, is a new adventure waiting to unfold.

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3. Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune Fountain) – Bologna

Fontana del Nettuno (Bologna)

Bologna, my beloved hometown, has always enchanted me with the grandeur of the Fountain of Neptune, a majestic marvel that adorns its namesake square in this enchanting Italian city.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Dating back to 1567, this monumental bronze and marble fountain is one of Giambologna’s early masterpieces. Neptune, the Sea God, reigns supreme at the fountain’s heart, commanding the waters with an authoritative gesture. The sculpture of Neptune is enveloped by enchanting nereids, creating an awe-inspiring aquatic tableau.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

A fascinating tradition tied to the Fountain of Neptune involves the local students. It’s believed that walking twice counterclockwise around the fountain before a significant exam, emulating Giambologna’s celebratory path upon completing the sculpture, brings good luck and success.

Visiting Experience

The Fountain of Neptune is a delightful sight for architecture enthusiasts, famous for its intricate marble facade and playful symbolism. It’s an ideal spot for sightseeing and photography, offering an immersive peek into Bologna’s rich cultural heritage.

The magic of Neptune’s majesty comes alive in the golden glow of sunset, making it a moment worth capturing. Bologna and its iconic Neptune, one of the most famous Italian fountains, should be on your Italian adventure list!

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4. Fontana dell’Elefante (Fountain of the Elephant) – Catania

Fontana dell'Elefante (Catania)

On my Sicilian journeys, the distinctively charming city of Catania presented me with an intriguing sight – the Fountain of the Elephant, a remarkable fusion of Italian artistry and Egyptian allure.

Historical and Artistic Significance

The elephant, carved from the black lava of Mount Etna, holds a fascinating obelisk upon its back. While some speculate the figure might have ancient Roman origins, the fountain, as we see it today, is a work by architect Vaccarini, completed in 1736.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

No specific rituals are tied to the fountain. Still, its distinct aesthetic, blending local natural elements with antiquated symbolism, sparks curiosity and invites reflection.

Visiting Experience

A visit to Catania is only complete with admiring this unique monument. Nestled amidst the city’s vibrant streets, the Fountain of the Elephant is a testament to Sicily’s diverse cultural influences and historical epochs.

When the Sicilian sun kisses the black lava statue, creating a captivating contrast, you’ll understand why this unusual landmark is worth a visit!

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5. Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) – Florence

Fountain of Neptune, Florence

Florence, another city I hold close to my heart, boasts numerous marvels, among which the Fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria stands out.

Historical and Artistic Significance

This 16th-century fountain was created to honor the marital union of the Second Duke of Tuscany and Grand Duchess Joanna of Austria. Despite several instances of vandalism and mistreatment throughout its history, the fountain has resiliently weathered these adversities.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

Although no specific rituals are tied to the Fountain of Neptune, its resilience and rejuvenation over the centuries symbolize the city’s indomitable spirit.

Visiting Experience

This fountain has regained its former glory following extensive renovations and is among the most famous Italian fountains to visit.

When in Florence, take a moment to appreciate Neptune’s grandeur, especially in the early evening light. It’s a symbol of the city’s resilience and a testament to its rich history – definitely a highlight of any Florentine adventure!

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6. Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor) – Rome

famous Italian fountains: Fontana del Moro

The dynamic city of Rome brims with treasures, and the Fontana del Moro, nestled in Piazza Navona’s southern end, is a striking example of a cultural crossroads.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Designed by Giacomo Della Porta in 1575, this beautiful fountain initially featured a leaping dolphin and four Tritons. In 1653, an engaging Moor statue by the acclaimed sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, was introduced.

Although the present figures are replicas, with the originals safely ensconced in the Galleria Borghese since 1874, their craftsmanship remains awe-inspiring.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

Despite lacking the coin-tossing tradition of other Roman fountains, the Fontana del Moro holds an integral place in the city’s heart.

Visiting Experience

A varied roster of artists contributed to the fountain’s rich tableau of dragons, tritons, and masks, all blending harmoniously with the typical Italian surroundings. This makes the Fontana del Moro a unique and compelling sight. So, while strolling through Rome, remember to add this cultural mosaic to your itinerary.

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7. Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of 99 Spouts) – L’Aquila

Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of 99 Spouts)

L’Aquila, located in the Abruzzo region, is home to the Fountain of 99 Spouts, an iconic symbol of the city’s rich heritage.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Believed to have been erected in 1272, this unique, trapezoid-based fountain is built from intertwined slabs of white and rose stone sourced from a nearby cave. Its signature feature is the 99 stone masks, or “cannelle” (“spouts”), which emit a mesmerizing cascade of water.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

As per local lore, these spouts symbolize the lords of the 99 castles who came together to found L’Aquila in the 13th century. This number is believed to permeate the city’s very fabric, with 99 squares, 99 churches, and 99 fountains.

Visiting Experience

Unfortunately, the 2009 earthquake left the fountain significantly damaged. However, dedicated restoration efforts have returned the Fountain of 99 Spouts to its original splendor. So, take advantage of this impressive monument to unity and resilience when you visit L’Aquila.

8. Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat) – Rome

famous fountains of Italy: Fontana della Barcaccia

You’ll find the quirky Fontana della Barcaccia in Rome’s famed Piazza di Spagna. This charming relic holds its own amidst the grandeur of the iconic Spanish Steps.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Constructed between 1627 and 1629, this intriguing fountain is the handiwork of Pietro Bernini, father of the legendary Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Its unique design, resembling an “ugly boat,” harks back to the time when the ancient Romans masterfully channeled abundant water through monumental Roman aqueducts, a tradition later continued by the Catholic Church to display its earthly influence.

This heritage is evident in the family crests of significant Popes imprinted on many of Italy’s fountains.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

The fountain’s intriguing name, “Barcaccia,” was inspired by a local legend. It is said that following the great flood of the River Tiber in 1598, a boat was discovered in this square. This tale has become part of the fountain’s allure and is a topic of conversation amongst many tourists.

Visiting Experience

Over the centuries, the “ugly boat” has been painstakingly restored and polished, a captivating testament to Rome’s intriguing past. Today, at the foot of the Spanish Steps, it is a favorite spot for tourists to pause, take in the scenery, and capture a memorable snapshot of their Roman adventure.

9. Fontana Aretusa (Arethusa Fountain) – Syracuse

Fontana Aretusa

Located on the enchanting Ortygia Island near Siracusa, Sicily, you’ll find the Fontana Aretusa, a massive fountain steeped in ancient Greek mythology and the romantic tales of Italy.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Beyond being a marvel of Italian architecture, Fontana Aretusa carries a deep-rooted significance in Greek mythology. According to legend, the goddess Artemis transformed the nymph Arethusa into this fountain to preserve her virginity from the amorous river god Alpheus.

In his desire, Alpheus pleaded to be converted into a river so that he could merge with his beloved Arethusa, giving the spring its unique blend of freshwater and seawater.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

The fountain is tightly bound with the legends of the nymph Arethusa, who is revered as the patron figure of Syracuse, the heart of Sicily.

Visiting Experience

Adorned with papyrus plants, the Fontana Aretusa emanates a heavenly aura. This site is more than just a visual spectacle; it’s an opportunity to delve into Sicily’s mystical and romantic folklore, offering a truly unforgettable experience.

10. Fontana del Tritone (Triton Fountain) – Rome

Fontana del Tritone (Piazza Barberini, Rome)

Rising powerfully in the heart of Rome’s bustling Piazza Barberini, the Triton Fountain, crafted by the renowned Baroque sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini, continues to captivate onlookers with its dramatic depiction of Greek mythology.

Historical and Artistic Significance

Commissioned by the influential Barberini Pope Urban VIII in 1642, the fountain is Bernini’s haunting interpretation of the Greek sea god Triton. Amid a dynamic whirl of water, shells, and dolphins, Triton emerges, blowing a conch that sprays a frothy stream toward the heavens.

This masterpiece was Bernini’s initial foray into stand-alone city fountains. It was conceived as a water outlet for the Acqua Felice aqueduct. Pope Urban restored it to supply fresh water to Rome’s expanding population.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

Bernini’s Triton holds no particular rituals or traditions. Still, it is a timeless symbol of Rome’s artistic and architectural magnificence.

Visiting Experience

Today, the formerly leafy, aristocratic suburb surrounding the fountain has transformed into one of Rome’s busiest arteries. Yet, amidst the modern commotion, the Triton Fountain remains a majestic testament to Bernini’s genius, immortal marble brought to life through the master’s chisel.

Experience the charm of this legendary masterpiece and witness how it continues to stand proudly, undeterred by the passage of time.

11. Fontana del Bargello (Bargello Fountain) – Gubbio

Fontana del Bargello, Gubbio

Nestled in the charming town of Gubbio, the 14th-century Bargello’s Fountain welcomes you with its well-preserved features and a delightful sense of whimsy.

Historical and Artistic Significance

The fountain owes its name to the adjacent palace, traditionally the dwelling of the “Bargello,” the city’s magistrate in charge of the police. Its architectural detail reflects the unique design and artistry of the period.

Associated Rituals and Traditions

Locally known as “la fontana dei matti” or “the fountain of the madmen,” this fountain is famous among Italians. A quirky tradition suggests that by baptizing oneself in its waters and circling it thrice, one earns the playful title of “madman of Gubbio.”

Visiting Experience

The Bargello’s Fountain is more than just an architectural piece; it’s a spot where you can let loose, have fun, and create memorable stories. Come, participate in its quirky tradition, and leave with a fun anecdote of being a certified “madman” in Gubbio.

12. Fontana delle Tartarughe (Turtle Fountain) – Rome

most popular Italian fountains: Fontana delle Tartarughe

Nestled within the alluring Piazza Mattei, Rome’s charming Turtle Fountain, or Fontana delle Tartarughe, is a magnificent spectacle that never ceases to impress.

Historical and Artistic Significance

The fusion of Giacomo della Porta’s design and Taddei Landini’s execution gave life to this fountain featuring graceful young men and dolphins in 1585.

Baroque maestro Gianlorenzo Bernini’s addition of tiny turtles clambering into the basin in the 1650s earned it its enduring name.

Associated Legends

According to a popular tale, Muzio Mattei, a gambler whose wedding was canceled, had this fountain built overnight to prove his worthiness to his prospective father-in-law. His triumphant proclamation, “Here’s what a hard-up Mattei can achieve in just a few hours!” is part of the fountain’s lore.

Visiting Experience

The Turtle Fountain isn’t merely a work of art; it’s a testament to love, determination, and artistic mastery. It’s an unforgettable sight for any visitor to the Eternal City.

13. Fontana dell’Acqua Paola (Fountain of Acqua Paola) – Rome

Acqua Paola Fountain, Rome

Initiated by Pope Paul V, the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is a testament to Rome’s commitment to providing clean water for its citizens.

Historical and Architectural Highlights

Constructed in 1612, the fountain, also known as Il Fontanone (“The big fountain”), was erected to celebrate the rebuilding of Emperor Trajan’s Acqua Traiana aqueduct, restoring a clean water supply for Janiculum Hill residents. The architectural brilliance of Giovanni Fontana and Flaminio Ponzio resonates in the fountain’s design, which uses white marble from the Forum of Nerva and the Temple of Minerva.

Distinctive Features

Five grand arches direct the water flow, while at the apex, carved symbols of the papal tiara, keys, the Borghese family’s coat of arms, and inscriptions lauding Pope Paul V embellish this monument. The Borghese’s dragon and eagle symbols, flanked by angels, further enhance the fountain’s regal facade.

14. Fontana dell’Acqua Felice (Fountain of Acqua Felice) – Rome

popular fountains in Italy: Acqua Felice

Marking a significant point in Rome’s architectural history, the Fountain of the Acqua Felice (also called the Fountain of Moses) has faced praise and criticism since its erection.

Historical and Artistic Context

Constructed in 1588 under the direction of Pope Sixtus V’s architect, Domenico Fontana, this fountain was a tribute to the restoration of the Acqua Felice aqueduct. The fountain, resembling an ancient triumphal arch, was Rome’s first monumental wall fountain in centuries.

Artistic Controversy

Despite its architectural splendor, controversy centered on the poorly proportioned Moses statue, eliciting criticism from art experts. There were rumors that the sculptor, Prospero Antichi, died of shame from the adverse reaction.

However, much like its resilient Moses, the fountain still stands tall after 400 years at one of Rome’s busiest intersections.

15. Fontane della Reggia di Caserta – Caserta

Fountains of the Reggia di Caserta

An illustrious symbol of royal lineage, the Reggia di Caserta, in southern Italy, was the principal domicile of the Bourbon-Two Sicilies dynasty.

Highlight – The Fountains

The estate boasts five mesmerizing fountains among its many marvels, ranking among the most famous Italian fountains.

These captivating installations, including the Fountains of Diana and Actaeon, Venus and Adonis, the Dolphins, Aeolus, and Ceres, showcase intricate designs, reflecting various celestial and divine entities.

16. Fontana del Babuino (Babuino Fountain) – Rome

Fontana del Babuino, Rome (famous Italian fountain)

Offering its moniker to Rome’s Via del Babuino, nestled parallel to the bustling Via del Corso shopping district, is the Fontana del Babuino, meaning “Baboon Fountain.”

Highlight – The Statue

Adding an alluring touch to this fountain is a little statue of Silenus, an ancient Greek woodland satyr displayed reclining near the Church of St Athanasius.

Its distinctive, mischievous smile and the earthy hue of its torso liken it to a baboon, distinguishing it among Rome’s celebrated “talking statues.”

17. Fontana di Piazza Castello – Milan

Piazza Castello Fountain, Milan

The Fontana di Piazza Castello is an attractive feature within Milan’s vibrant cityscape, situated at the southeast gateway of Castello Sforzesco.


This fountain features a substantial round basin with a circular, flat-topped sculpture at its heart. The sculpture emits a spray of water in a fan pattern, lending it the appearance of a bridal cake.

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18. Fontana degli Artisti (Fountain of the Artists) – Rome

Fontana degli Artisti, Rome

Situated in the heart of Rome, on the picturesque Via Margutta just steps away from the iconic Spanish Steps, is the Fontana degli Artisti or the Fountain of the Artists. This extraordinary site is more than just a fountain; it’s a tribute to the region’s rich artistic heritage.


The fountain’s distinctive features narrate its artistic lineage. Erected in 1927, it encapsulates the vivacious artistic energy that has flowed through Via Margutta from the days of Baroque maestro Orazio Gentileschi.

This illustrious street earned the title “la strada degli artisti” (the street of the artists) as it magnetized artists worldwide.

19. Fontana Masini (Masini Fountain) – Cesena

Masini Fountain, Cesena (Italy)

Masini Fountain, located centrally in Piazza del Popolo, is a key symbol of Cesena. Crafted from Istrian stone by Domenico di Montevecchio between 1586 and 1590, under the design direction of Francesco Masini, its style echoes Bologna’s ‘Nettuno’ fountain.


This fountain holds a cherished spot in the hearts of Cesena’s residents. The notable features of the fountain are steeped in intriguing local lore. Legend has it that the townspeople, deeply enamored by the fountain’s beauty, crippled the hands of its designer, Francesco Masini, to ensure he could not duplicate such magnificence elsewhere.

20. Fontana di Piazza De Ferrari – Genoa

Fontana di Piazza de Ferrari, Genoa

Anchoring the heart of Genoa in Piazza De Ferrari, the Fontana di Piazza De Ferrari stands as a testament to remarkable architecture and vibrant water displays.


Taking center stage in this expansive square, which covers an area of 120,000 square feet, is a monumental circular bronze fountain. This impressive structure was designed by architect Cesare Crosa di Vergagni and erected in 1936, generously gifted by the Piaggio family. In 2001, it was further enhanced with added water features.

The fountain’s vast basin generates a compelling water spectacle, strikingly contrasting the urban surroundings. Its unique allure and central position make it a favored meeting point and a sought-after subject for photography enthusiasts.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these most famous Italian fountains are much more than simple architectural elements or tourist attractions. They are enduring symbols of Italy’s rich history, culture, and artistry.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to Italy or admire its timeless beauty, these famous Italian fountains offer a refreshing perspective of Italy’s artistic and cultural heritage. Explore, indulge, and let the magic of these water masterpieces captivate your senses.

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