72729

Fountain of the Moor

Piazza Navona - Navona Square

Two other fountains at either end of the piazza, works by Giacomo della Porta, complete the overall picture.

The Fountain of the Moor, fed by the Aqueduct of the Virgin (Virgo), was originally called "the snail fountain": Bernini had in fact modified the fountain, inserting a dolphin that supported a snail, but the people, as well as the Pamphilj family, were not exactly thrilled with this combination and so a male figure was put in to substitute the snail, a figure with African or "Moorish" features that holds the dolphin by the tail and it's this particular point that gives the fountain the name it's had ever since.

Originally there was also an iron fence around the fountain which gave rise to a tasty "pasquinade". Late one night, behind the , a piece of paper appeared with the words: "Oh, unhappy water! They have closed you behind gates of iron. Then again, it was to be expected — it was a Virgin!", referring to the Virgin spring water but also to the chastity belt very much in vogue at the time.