Fountain of the Amphorae: a Testaccio Landmark Revisiting Rome’s Urban Renaissance

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Rome is known and admired worldwide for its monuments but also for its fountains. In addition to the most popular ones located in the heart of the eternal city, there are many others, less known, found in the neighboring districts of the historic center. Among these is the Fountain of the Amphorae, located in the popular and renowned district of Testaccio in Rome.

The Origins and Resettlement of Testaccio’s Fountain of the Amphorae

But what is the history of this fountain?

The original project dates back to 1927, designed by the architect Pietro Lombardi. The commission was given to him as part of a broader urban redevelopment of the recently built neighborhood. The new fountain was supposed to be built in Piazza Mastro Giorgio, now Piazza Testaccio, but a few years after construction began, the first problems related to the subsidence of the underlying ground started to appear. In 1932, the Administration proposed to move the fountain to the nearby Piazza dell’Emporio.

Restoration and Transformation: Piazza Testaccio Welcomes Back the Fountain

Recently, in 2012, the fountain returned to its original location, in Piazza Testaccio, following the relocation of the historic local market to Via Galvani, as part of a larger project to redevelop the square itself. The fountain underwent a significant restoration that involved the hydraulic system, allowing the restoration and activation of the 45 water supply nozzles and a new lighting system.

Architectural Marvel: Exploring the Design Elements of the Fountain

Architecturally, the Anfore Fountain is entirely built in travertine and is topped by a tall pinnacle consisting of a collection of amphorae inspired by the nearby Monte Testaccio. This hill is composed of remains of ancient Roman amphorae used to transport oil from lands owned by the Romans. These amphorae were recovered from the nearby Tiber River and used as a decorative element for the fountain. At the base, there are four basins adorned with a facade on which the coat of arms of the Municipality is sculpted, crowned by a ram’s head.

History and technique blend together here: the Fountain of the Amphorae is indeed an excellent example of how architecture and art can be integrated into the urban fabric, creating a work of art that has become, in almost 100 years, one of the symbols of the Testaccio district.

Photo credits: @kpiddy on Tripadvisor


Hotel Santa Prisca is at only 10 minutes walking from the Fountain of the Amphorae.