A guide to Rome fountains: the most famous fountains in Rome, the most beautiful, the most unique, those you can drink from and why you don’t want to miss them. Updated February 2022.
One of Rome’s most distinctive traits is its fountains.
Some are a grand and a must-see, some are quirky and a delightful surprise and some are small and cute.
All are, however, special to the city, which holds the record for being the city with the highest number of fountains in the whole world!
In this guide, I am going to share my favorite fountains in Rome: some are famous fountains in Rome you probably have at least heard of, others are lesser known and perfect if you want to see a slightly different side of the city!
Fountains in Rome chart
|Trevi Fountain||Nicola Salvi||1732||Piazza di Trevi, Rome city center|
|La Barcaccia||Gian Lorenzo Bernini||1629||Piazza di Spagna, Rome city center|
|Fountain of the Four Rivers||Gian Lorenzo Bernini||1651||Piazza Navona, Rome city center|
|Fontana delle Naiadi||Mario Rutelli||1911||Piazza della repubblica, Rome city center|
|Fontana del Tritone||Gian Lorenzo Bernini||1642-43||Piazza Barberini, Rome city center|
|Fontana della Dea Roma (2)||Giuseppe Valadier, Giovanni Ceccarini/Matteo Bartolani||1814-23 and 1588-89||Piazza del Popolo/Piazza del Campidoglio|
|Fountain of Piazza della Rotonda||Giacomo Della Porta||1575||Piazza della Rotonda (Piazza del Pantheon)|
|Fontana dell’Acqua Paola||Giovanni Fontana||1612||Via Garibaldi, Janiculum Hill, Rome|
|Fontana delle tartarughe (turtle fountain)||Giacomo Della Porta||1580-88||Piazza Mattei, Rome city center|
|Fontana delle Rane (Fountain of the frogs)||Gino Coppede’||1924||Piazza Mincio, Coppede’ District|
|Fontana del Mascherone||Giacomo Rainaldi||1600s||Via Giulia, Rome city center|
|Fontana dei Libri (fountain of the books)||Pietro Lombardi||1927||Via degli staderari, Rome city center|
|Fontana del Facchino (Fountain of the Porter)||Jacopino del Conte||1580||Via Lata, Rome city center|
Famous fountains in Rome: grand and beautiful Rome fountains
Grand, monumental fountains are among Rome’s most awe-inspiring attractions.
They are free to visit and I highly recommend to visit them both during the day and in the evening.
In daylight, you can admire their lovely details and in the evening, when the lights illuminate them, you will be hard-pressed not to get sept off your fee by how beautiful they are!
These are some of the most famous Rome fountains to seek out.
Map of famous Rome fountains and unmissable, lesser known ones
The most famous fountains in Rome
Trevi Fountain -Fontana di Trevi, the most famous fountain in Rome
An obvious choice maybe, but if you are interested in Rome fountains you simply must see Fontana di Trevi, the most famous of all!
The fountain is in a small piazza (Piazza della Fontana di Trevi) and is stunning.
Massive and elaborate, the fountain dominates the small square and the visual impact is made stronger by the surprise element: you can only get to the square on foot and you get there via small, meandering alleys that suddenly stop to reveal the view of the fountain!
This, plus the crashing sound of the water, makes this corner of Rome one of the most impressive and rightly famous.
Address: Piazza della Fontana di Trevi, Rome
Need to know: the trevi Fountain is one of the most popular sights in the whole of Rome and this notoriety comes at a cost. During the day, the fountain is swamped by visitors and sellers of tacky souvenirs, to such an extent you sometimes cannot even see it! Quite something is you think it is 20 meters wide and 26 meters tall! Go early in the morning or late int he evening to avoid the crowds.
La Barcaccia – Rome fountain at the Spanish Steps
Piazza di Spagna is most famous for the Spanish Steps but it is also home to a wonderful fountain, ‘la Barcaccia’.
Less monumental and much smaller than Trevi, la Barcaccia has anyway an impressive pedigree: it was built by order of Pope Urbano VIII Barberini, by no less than architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who completed it between 1626 and 1629.
The fountain is unique: Bernini built it to resemble a boat (‘barcaccia’ means literally, ‘bad boat’) steadily filled by water pouring out of 2 suns and pouring out into a surrounding basin, giving the impression of a sinking ship.
Worth noticing are the bees, symbol of the Barberini family the Pope belonged to.
Address: Piazza di Spagna, Rome
Find here >>> our guide to La Barcaccia fountain with facts and tips for visiting.
Need to know: like Trevi, Piazza do Spagna is so full of tourists the fountain is sometimes engulfed in crowds. Do visit in the evening or early in the morning (before 10 am) for the best views and photo opportunities.
La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – the Fountain of the four rivers, one of the most famous fountains in Rome
The fountain sits in the center of the piazza and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen: each detail is exquisite and its white marble against the Rome blue sky is an unforgettable sight!
The fountains is called ‘of the 4 rivers’ because it represents four of the most famous rivers in the world, namely the Danube, the Rio de la Plata, the Nile and the Gange, each recognizable by clever symbolism chosen by Bernini, its sculptor.
They are all worth noticing by two are the most famous and, I believe, the most impressive: the Nile, represented with his head covered, to symbolize its unknown source, and the Rio de la Plata, famously covering its eyes in terror.
The rivers are so represented so beautifully, they are among the most beautiful statues in Rome.
Address: Piazza Navona, Rome
You can read here >>> facts and symbols of Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain
Fun fact: Gossips says that the Rio de la Plata statue covers its eyes for fear of being crushed by the church in front of him, built by Bernini rival Borromini.
While funny, this is just gossip and the alternative explanation is much more interesting. If you look at the statue carefully, you will notice a small snake and some coins: the coins represent the wealth (and the name of the river, Rio de la Plata, Plata meaning silver) and the snake the constant fear of the rich to lose their status.
Need to know: Piazza Navona has 3 fountains. After the fountain of the four rivers, make sure you also check out Fontana di Nettuno (Neptune’s fountain) and Fontana del Moro (Moor’s fountain), at the two opposite ends of the square.
Fontana delle Naiadi – Rome fountain of the Naiads
Fontana delle Naiadi is a stunning fountain in what is now one of the most unfortunate locations of all: the center of Piazza della Repubblica, a massive roundabout constantly filled with crazy traffic!
Seeing the fountain up close is not for the faint of heart (really, they go fast here) but the fountain itself is beautiful and you if you come here in the evening or you pass it by taxi, it is truly something special,
The fountain dates back to 1901 and, when first unveiled, caused quite a stir due to the ‘natural’ beauty of the Naiads, the beautiful water deities it represents!
At its center, Glaucus holds a dolphin, symbolizing the dominance of Man over nature (a message very much in line with the collective psyche at time of its construction).
Address: Piazza della Repubblica (Aka Piazza Esedra), Rome
Fontana del Tritone – Triton’s fountain Rome
Bernini lovers will love a visit to the Triton’s fountain, at the center of the (busy) piazza by the same name: Piazza del tritone
The fountain was built by Bernini in 1642-43 and represents Triton supported by 4 dolphins, their teils intertwined with the heraldic symbols of the Barberini’s families who ordered its construction: bees.
Address: Piazza Barberini, Rome
Read here >>> description + how to see Berninis’ Triton fountain
Fontana della Dea Roma – Fountain of the Goddess Roma
Can Rome have so many fountains they ran out of names for them?
It certainly looks like it when it comes to the Fountain of the Goddess Rome (la Fontana della Dea Roma) which you have in two locations: Piazza del Popolo and on top of the Campidoglio!
Both are worth seeing for themselves and for the stunning piazzas they dominate, both among the most beautiful in Rome.
Address: Piazza del Campidoglio / Piazza del Popolo, Rome
Fontana di Piazza della Rotonda – Fountain of the Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda is better known for being the square overlooked by the Pantheon but it also has a nice fountain, mostly used by avid photographers as a prop in Pantheon photos (I have done it too, it is irresistible!)
The fountain dates back to the XVI century but the obelisk at its top was added in 1711.
Come in the evening when the lights sparkle both in the fountain and at the Pantheon for the best photo opportunities.
Address: Piazza della Rotonda (aka Piazza del Pantheon), Rome
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola aka il Fontanone – The Big Fountain
If you have seen the movie ‘La Grande Bellezza’ by Sorrentino you probably have in mind one specific, monumental fountain and wonder where that may be.
The great Beauty fountain is at the top of the Gianicolo Hill (a lovely place for views over Rome) and it has an official name and an unofficial one: the official name is Fontana dell’Aqua Paola and the unofficial one is Il Fontanone (the big fountain), a local name highlighting the most impressive feature of this fountain: its massive size!
Address: Via Garibaldi, Rome
Small and charming Rome fountains
Not all Rome fountains are grand monumental: some are small, charming and surprising.
They add immense character to the city and their unusual locations and understated charm often make them among the favorite discoveries for visitors and locals alike.
Fontana delle Tartarughe – Fountain of turtles
One of the cutest fountains in Rome and one beloved by Romand is the so-called ‘Fontana delle Tartarughe’, the ‘turtles’ fountain’ in Piazza Mattei.
Unlike others mentioned so far, this is smaller and not monumental as such: rather, it has an intimate feel about it, given by the subdued nature of its protagonists: turtles!
The fountain sits in the center of Piazza Mattei, in Rome city center, and was built between 1580 and 1588 by the architect Giacomo della Porta and the sculptor Taddeo Landini.
This is a lovely corner of Rome and one that is easy to visit while in the area of Piazza Venezia or while visiting the stunning Rome Ghetto.
Address: Piazza Mattei
Read here >>> all about Rome’s Fountain of the Turtles
Fontana delle rane – Fountain of frogs
The fountain of the frogs is a lovely fountain in a very special part of Rome, the Coppede’ District, famous for peculiar, fairytale-like architecture.
The fountain pays homage in name and style to the above-mentioned fountain of turtles and has the same intimate, subdues charm about it.
The fountain is worth seeing while discovering this charming area.
Address: Piazza Mincio, 00198 Rome
Fontana del Mascherone – Fountain of the Mask
Fontana del Mascherone is one of those things that just makes you fall in love with Rome all over again! Funny and unexpected, this fountain is in charming Via Giulia and it represents a large face spitting out water.
While not unique in Rome (there are others built with the same concept, for instance on the Aventine Hill) is it so unexpected and funny you simply must see it.
Our kids couldn’t stop laughing at it but there is more to it than just an unusual look.
History tells us that the fountain, built by the Farnese family with ancient Roman remains, for one day in 1720 poured free wine to celebrate the nomination of the new Grandmaster of the order of Malta, Mr Antonio Zondadori
Address: via Giulia
Fontana dei Libri – the books fountain
If you are visiting the Fountain of the four rivers in Piazza Navona, make sure you also stretch your legs to the nearby fountain of the books, a much smaller yet cute fountain I believe is worth seeing.
The fountain is on a road now called Via degli Staderari and pays homage to the University that used to be in the area.
Address: Via degli Staderari, Rome
Fun fact: the stag’s head you see on this fountain may look at odds with the books theme but is the symbol of this area. You will also find it on top of the church of Sant’Eustachio nearby.
Fontana del Facchino – Fountain of the Porter
The Fountain of the porter is a very peculiar fountain in Rome famous for its funny appearance representing a man with a barrel and for being one of the 6 talking statues of Rome!
The talking statues of Rome are 6 sculptures scattered in several locations around Rome.
In Papal Rome, when expressing dissent was illegal, they were places where, overnight, the romans would go and leave anonymous pamphlets and complaints against the government, basically having the states ‘talk’ for them.
The Fountain of the Porter is one of the two talking statues that are also fountains and you can see in Via Late in Rome city center.
The smallest Rome fountains – I nasoni and their delicious water
No article on Rome fountains can be complete without at least a mention of one of the most distinctive and unique traits of Rome: its drinking fountains!
The city has an unbelievably high number of drinking fountains, all over the city (about 2000).
They constantly pour fresh, delicious drinking water out of a tube that looks like a long nose and that gave them the name of ‘nasoni’ (big noses).
The nasoni are beloved by Romans and a lifesaver in Rome in the summer, when their cool water makes for great a refreshing drink and a welcome respite from the heat.
You can use the nasoni to fill your water bottle or you can do like the locals and learn the trick to drink from them without getting soaked.
Stay to the side of the fountain and use one hand to block the flow of water from below the tube.
The water will be forced out of the small hole at the top of the ‘nose’ and will come out in a nice arch, from which you can drink at your leisure!
You can read here >>> all about Rome tap water
Rules for visiting Rome fountains
When visiting the fountains of Rome, it is useful to remember a couple of things.
The water from the ‘nasoni’ is drinkable: free, cold and safe, you can drink as you go or use it to refill your reusable bottle.
Monumental fountains may or may not have drinkable water and even when it is, it may or may not be safe and/or legal to get close enough to them to get some. In doubt, do not drink from monumental fountains.
You can read all about drinking water in Rome (from tap and fountains) here
Entering into fountains is illegal in Rome: fines are steep and the rule enforced so I am afraid dreams of recreating La Dolce Vita scene with Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountains will have to stay dreams (yes, even in summer!).
I hope you enjoyed this post about the best fountains in Rome and it gave you ideas on what to see and how to go about it when in Rome. Safe travels!