Barcaccia Fountain at the Foot of the Spanish Steps Restored

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 04:03
Spanish steps

Restoration work on the famous Barcaccia fountain located at the bottom of the Spanish Steps has been completed.

On Monday, Rome mayor Ignazio Marino and the city’s culture councillor Giovanna Marinelli presided as the - now gleaming white - fountain was unveiled for locals and tourists to enjoy again.

The restoration project began in the fall of 2013 and cost 200,000 euros.

The Fontana della Barcaccia was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and was completed in 1627 by Pietro Bernini and his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It derives its name from its shape, a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its bows. According to popular legend, the shape was chosen because, following a particularly bad flooding of the Tiber river in 1598, a boat was left behind in the square after the water withdrew.

The fountain’s gentle splashing famously soothed the English poet John Keats, who lived in a house on the Spanish Steps, on his deathbed. He said it reminded him of lines from the 17th-century play Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding (1611) and was the source for his epitaph: "Here lies one whose name was writ in water."