Key to Umbria: Spoleto

Fountains in Spoleto

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Fonte di Piazza (1746-8)

This fountain in Piazza del Mercato was built in the facade of San Donato (11th or 12th century), a church that had been  largely demolished in 1573.   The Roman architect Costantino Fiaschetti designed the travertine structure that surrounds the fountain.

This painting (ca. 1700), which is in the Cappella di San Pietro Martire, San Domenico, shows St Peter Martyr preaching in Piazza del Mercato.  The painting was executed before the current fountain was built.  It therefore shows:
  1. the present clock, which was installed shortly after the church was demolished in 1573;

  2. the Barberini Monument (see below), which was installed in the upper par of the surviving facade in ca. 1623; and

  3. the earlier fountain (1433).  

Barberini Monument (ca. 1623)

The Barberini monument was subsequently built in the upper part of the facade.  It was conceived in 1623, the year in which Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (who had been Bishop of Spoleto in the period 1608-17) was elected as Pope Urban VIII.  His nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini visited the city in that year and agreed to become its protector.  The Commune initially proposed to erect a statue of the new pope, but Francesco Barberini suggested this monument as an alternative. 

The monument, which was inserted into the upper part of the surviving facade of San Donato, was designed in Rome by Carlo Maderno.  The inscription records that the Senate and the people of Spoleto had experienced Barberini largesse in the fields of both civic and ecclesiastical government.  The monument bears the arms of:

  1. Urban VIII;

  2. Cardinal Francesco Barberini; and

  3. Cardinal Antonio Barberini.

Fontana di Mascherone (17th century) 

The fountain in Piazza Campello takes its name from the grotesque human mask  from which water  spouts. 
  1. The inscription on the small fountain to the right of it probably came from this site, which would date the central part of the structure to 1642.

  2. The inscription and the arms record that Pope Clement VII commissioned the restoration of the fountain in 1736.  The surrounding aedicule probably dates to this restoration.

People who choose to settle in Spoleto are traditionally said to have "taken the water of il Mascherone".

Return to Monuments of Spoleto.

Return to: Walk I (for the Fonte di Piazza); or

  Walk II (for the Fontana di Mascherone).