Fontana del Moro in Piazza Navona

Located at the southern end of the beautiful Piazza Navona, the Fontana del Moro is the first of three fountains adorning the square. As the Four Rivers Fountain, the Fontana del Moro was also designed by Bernini under the Papacy of Innocenzo X. Donna Olimpia, the Pope’s sister in law, commissioned the work to Bernini, putting him in charge of completing and renovating an earlier fountain by Giacomo della Porta featuring dragons and tritons. The result was spectacular!

Credits: image by @Claudio_Lombardi
Location: in the Piazza Navona
Tickets: Not Needed
Accessibility: Accessible
Kid-friendly Attraction

Bernini’s Project

Bernini completely transformed Giacomo’s monumental complex, characterized by a basin, steps, balustrades and statues. The basin was turned into a low pool, positioned at the street level. The steps and the balustrades were removed.

The Moor

At the center of Bernini’s project there’s a new character, called “il Moro”, a creature half human – half fish, sculpted in 1654 by Giovanni Antonio Mari following Bernini’s design.
The giant is depicted in the act of choking a fish or a dolphin maybe with his legs. The fish is trying to escape from the Moro’s grasp. The two figures are wrestling in front of everyone!

Even though the Fontana del Moro is not as famous as the Fountain of the Four Rivers, you should really take your time to admire and appreciate this masterpiece.

Indeed, here you can admire Bernini’s fantasy and technical skills at work: the water flows as a glowing blade of light from the fish mouth. Water turns into light in the Moor Fountain to surprise the spectators and achieve a metamorphosis, the epic transformation of one element into another!

The Tritons

At the bottom, four tritons are blowing water into seashells. These were actually sculpted by disciples of Giacomo della Porta and were initially intended for the Fountain in Piazza del Popolo. In 1823 Valadier, who was working on a news asset for Piazza del Popolo, moved them in the Fountain of the Moro.

Credits: image by @Serghei_Topor

In 1874, during a restoration of the fountain, the original statues were moved to the Galleria Borghese and replaced with copies.