Fontana del Tritone
In the center of the famous Piazza Barberini stands the Triton Fountain (Fontana del Tritone) by Bernini. It was commissioned in 1642 by Pope Urban VIII from the Barberini family. The building material was travertine from Tivoli. The fountain is fed by the aqueduct Acqua Felice, built by Pope Sixtus V in 1586 and whose terminus is the Fontana del Mosè.
Urban’s aim in building it was to beautify the area around Palazzo Barberini, and at the same time to provide water for local residents and to embellish the city’s ornamentation.
Dolphins standing on their heads carry a huge shell on which the god kneels and spews water from a conch shell into the sky. Cleverly placed between the dolphins are the Barberini coat of arms, the keys of Peter, the Apostle Lord, and the papal tiara.
The staging of the fountain is supposed to represent a triton, sent as a messenger by Neptune to announce the message that this part of the city is now supplied with fresh and precious water.
This is the first fountain that Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed under his own direction.
In the same piazza there is also the fountain Fontana delle Api, built four years later by Bernini.