20 L 1975 - Carlo Maderno's Fountain - St. Peter's Square

20 L 1975 -  Carlo Maderno's Fountain - St. Peter's Square
Added by Alain Martineau
General Description : In 1612, the ancient Roman aqueduct the Aqua Traiana was rebuilt by Pope Paul V and renamed the Acqua Paola; the restored aqueduct provided the fountain with a much more abundant source of water. The architect Carlo Maderno, nephew of the architect Domenico Fontana, was given the commission to redesign the fountain. He built a new octagonal base for the fountain on top of which built a large irregular basin, decorated with steps and small columns, to hold the water. he kept the large lower stone vasque of the old fountain, and ornamented the pedestal above it with four stone scrolls. He removed the smaller upper vasque, and replaced it with an inverted vasque or cap like a mushroom, covered with stone scales. When the water spouted from the top, it poured down over the top of the upper vasque, its flow broken and made to sparkle by the stone scales. In addition he removed the coats of arms of the three previous Popes and replaced them with plaques honoring his patron, Pope Paul V.
Like all fountains of the time, the fountain on St. Peter's Square had no pumps and operated purely by gravity, with a source of water higher than the fountain which caused the water to shoot upwards. The source of water for the fountain, the Aqua Paola, was on the Janiculum hill, 266 above sea level, which meant that the fountain could shoot water twenty feet upwards into the air in 1641 the Flemish lawyer Theodor Ameyden said that the jet of water from the top of the fountain "seemed to rise in the air like a veritable river." He called it "the most beautiful fountain which exists in Europe.
Material Gold
Face value 20 Lire
Height 40.00 mm
Width 39.00 mm
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