Roma Capitale
Zètema Progetto Cultura
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Typology: 16th Century, 20th Century, Characteristic Fountain, Running Fountain


Address: Via del Babuino
Zone: Rione Campo Marzio (P.Spagna-P.Popolo-Pincio) (Roma centro)
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The fountain was built around 1580 with the money of a private citizen, Alessandro Grandi, up against a building he owned in Via Paulina, which already in 1581 the people of Rome started to call Via del Babuino (“baboon”) because the fountain recalled the shape of a monkey. The construction of the fountain was imposed by Pius IV Medici (1559-1565) in return for granting Grandi the use of a certain amount of water for the flower and vegetable gardens of his home. The fountain was thus one of the first semi-public fountains because it was built by a private citizen for public use. The monument takes its name from a statue of a reclining Silenus, that the populace called a baboon (or sometimes a macaque), placed on top of a basin froman ancient Roman baths. In 1581 the fountain became the property of the Capitoline Chamber and thus became public property. During the 17th century the building up against the fountain became the property of the Boncompagni-Ludovisi princes, who in 1738 decided to restructure it. In so doing, the Baboon was moved to the left and placed within a rustic ashlar frame with two travertine dolphins at the top. In 1877 the fountain was dismantled for road planning reasons: the Silenus was thus placed inside the courtyard of the Cerasi Palace, while the granite basin went to replace the one used in the drinking trough situated in the Via Flaminia in front of the fountain of Julius III. In 1957 the Baboon was readapted as a fountain and placed on an ancient basin on the left side of Saint Atanasio’s church, where it stands today. It is also worth recalling that the Baboon was one of Rome’s “talking statues”.

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Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage
Last checked: 2021-04-01 12:03