Le Fontane della Cordonata



Le Fontane della Cordonata


At the foot of Michaelangelo's Cordonata, two identical lion fountains greet visitors climbing the steps to the Piazza del Campidoglio today, just as they once did in 1588. These Egyptian lion sculptures were placed at the foot of the Cordonata in 1582, but when the Acqua Felice's water reached the Capitol in 1588, Giacomo della Porta turned the statues into lively fountains.

The Acqua Felice's water brought fresh water to the Capitoline Hill for the first time in over a millenium, so the arrival of water in 1588, was celebrated as a victory for both the Pope and the people. Therefore, the lion, part of the Pope's heraldic arms, signified Sixtus V marking his influence on the Cordonata steps. Additionally, a public display of water in a popular location facilitated a site where the people could celebrate this new supply of water and be reminded of Sixtus V's contributions.


Giacomo della Porta


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Rinne, Katherine Wentworth. "Aquae Urbis Romae." Waters of Rome. http://www3.iath.virginia.edu/waters/.

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Pulvers, Marvin. Roman Fountains: 2000 Fountains in Rome: A Complete Collection. Roma: "L'Erma" Di Bretschneider, 2002.

Symmes, Marilyn F. Fountains, Splash and Spectacle: Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present:. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1998.


Roman Council






Rome, Italy


Giacomo della Porta, “Le Fontane della Cordonata,” Italian Baroque Art, accessed January 24, 2021, https://baroque.trinity.duke.edu/items/show/466.