Key to Umbria: Assisi

Fountains of Assisi

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Fontanella del Lione (1559)

This fountain in Piazza del Vescovado is so-called because the water originally came out through the jaws of a bronze lion, but a column with a cone on top has replaced it. 

Fonte Marcella (1556-7)

The inscription at the top of this travertine fountain records that Marcello Tuto, the papal governor erected it.   The fountain is also known as Fontebella.  It is referred to in documents as "fons hospitalis", because the building to the right housed the Ospedale della Misericordia.

Water flows into the rectangular basin from three lions' heads that are set in a Doric frieze. 

  1. The arms below the inscription are those of Pope Paul IV.

  2. The arms below are mostly illegible, except for the arms of Assisi to the right.

  3. The front of the basin has three reliefs of roses.

The inscription to the left warns that anyone washing clothes in the fountain will be fined and their laundry will be confiscated.

Fonti di Moiano (restored in 1294)

The name of the fountain and the surrounding district derives from the Latin Mons Iani, which suggests that a Roman temple that was dedicated to Janus probably stood nearby. 

A fountain on this site was first recorded in 1155.  An inscription [where ???] records that the Capitano del Popolo, Guido di Giacomo da Cortona commissioned its restoration 1294.  The shoemakers who lived in this area were required to maintain the adjacent washhouse, which probably dates to the late 15th century: it was documented in 1491 and restored in 1826.

Frescoes from Fonte di Moiano (ca. 1500)

A number of frescoes from a site near the fountain are documented.  The surviving fragments, which are attributed to Tiberio d' Assisi, are now in the Pinacoteca Comunale:

A damaged fresco fragment, which depicts the Madonna and Child with two seraphim, came from large scene that was documented in 1835 as a Madonna and Child enthroned, set in a landscape.  One source says that it was above the gate leading to an orchard belonging to the Confraternita di San Crispino. 

This fresco of a bishop saint, probably St Rufinus, was documented here in 1835, along  with two others that no longer survive: another bishop saint and St Francis. 

Fonte Oliviera (1570)

The noble Oliviero Ludovici commissioned this fountain to supply water to the local people.  It is sometimes attributed to Galeazzo Alessi.

The inscription warns that anyone washing in the fountain risks a fine and the confiscation of the offending laundry.

Fonte di Perlici (1294)

The inscription on the left wall records that Guido di Giacomo da Cortona, the Capitano del Popolo, built this fountain.  His arms can be seen on the back wall.

The wool dyers who lived in the area were responsible for the maintenance of the fountain.  The washhouse (1736) to the right of it, which has a loggia of three arches, was restored in 1826.

Fonte di Piazza del Comune (1762)

A fountain was documented here in 1303.  Polimante di Maestro Gentile rebuilt it in 1467, and it took on its present form in 1762.

Fonte di Piazza Santa Chiara (1872)

This polygonal fountain was designed by Attilio Cangi to adorn the piazza after its extension in 1872 onto a new artificial terrace.

Fonte di San Nicolò (date)


The Fonte di San Nicolò is in Via Portica, just before the entrance to the crypt of San Nicolò (now the Museo Civico),is behind a portico of three arches and rests on the pavement of the Roman forum.  The pulpit (1354) above the right arch came from the Palazzo del Governatore.  Its five panels have been restored but the corbel below, which was carved by Nicolò da Bettona, is original.

Fontana di San Rufino (1532)


This fountain, which is fed by six spouts set in the heads of lions, is at the corner of Piazza San Rufino.

  1. The inscription in a plaque above and to the left (illustrated here on the left) records that the papal governor, Virgilio de Bernardi built it.  The plaque also  bears his arms and those of Assisi. 

  2. The lion relief (1278) to the right, which has an inscription with the date and the name of the Capitano del Popolo, Bonifacio dei Samaritani, possibly came from an earlier fountain in the piazza.

Fonte delle Tre Cannelle (1526)

Pope Clement VII (Giuliano de' Medici) commissioned this small fountain (no longer in use) for pilgrims visiting Santa Maria degli Angeli.  The remains of it, replete with the Medici arms, can still be seen in the wall of the building opposite the left wall of the church.

Fonte delle Ventisei Cannelle (1610)

The Medici family commissioned this fountain with 26 spouts  fountain on the left wall of  Santa Maria degli Angeli.  Like the Fonte delle Tre Cantelle opposite, it bears the Medici arms.

Fontana di Via Portica (12th century)

This fountain was first documented in 1204. 

  1. A lost inscription here read “QUI BIBERIT EX HAC AQUA SITIET ITERUM” (He who drinks from this water will be thirsty again).

  2. The arms of the Mammoni family are on the back wall. 

  3. The arms (1461) on the wall above might have belonged to the Tilers’ Guild.

Return to Monuments of Assisi.

Return to Walk I (Fonte di Perlici; Fonte di Piazza del Comune; Fonte di San Nicolò; and Fontana di San Rufino).

Return to Walk II (Fontanella del Lione; Fonte Marcella; Fonti di Moiano; and

Fonte di Piazza Santa Chiara).

Return to Walk III (Fonte Oliviera; and Fontana di Via Portica).

Return to Santa Maria degli Angeli (Fonte delle Tre Cannelle; and

Fonte delle Ventisei Cannelle).

Return to the home page on Assisi.