The Triton Fountain (Fontana del Tritone) is not on the scale of Rome’s most famous water feature, the Trevi Fountain, but it’s well worth a visit. Located in bustling Piazza Barberini, Fontana del Tritone was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and carved by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose baroque sculptures also appear in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Basics
Poised outside the stately Palazzo Barberini, Fontana del Tritone was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, Bernini’s patron, to provide water sourced from the Acqua Felice aqueduct. Built in 1643, it was the first of Bernini’s freestanding fountains. The sculpture features the mythical figure of Triton, who balances on seashells and blows a conch: a reference to Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Triton causes a great flood to recede.
The Fontana del Tritone is featured in numerous Rome itineraries, including Bernini-themed walking tours, excursions to Palazzo Barberini, baroque art and architecture tours, photography tours, and evening trips to survey Rome’s landmarks after dark.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Look closely: the Fontana del Tritone features a papal crown and three bees that are also part of the Barberini coat-of-arms.
- The legend of the Trevi Fountain also applies to the Fontana del Tritone: Those who toss a coin over one shoulder and into the fountain are guaranteed to return to Rome.
- It is forbidden to swim in the fountain, eat or drink while sitting on the edge, throw in objects (other than coins), or climb on it.
How to Get There
Take Metro line A to the Barberini–Fontana di Trevi station, located just steps from the fountain. Piazza Barberini is also served by many bus lines, including Nos. 52, 53, 62, 63, 80, 83, 85, 150F, 160, 492, 590, C3, N1, N4, N5, N12, and N25. Given its central location, this sight can also easily be reached on foot, by bicycle, or by taxi from other sights in the heart of Rome. When to Get There
Busy by day and illuminated at night, the Fontana del Tritone can be admired any time. To pair a visit to the fountain with a tour of the adjacent Palazzo Barberini, however, check the normal opening hours for the Galleria Nazionale Antica, which is housed in the palazzo, and visit when the gallery is open. Fontana delle Api
The Fontana del Tritone isn’t the only Bernini sculpture to call the Piazza Barberini home. The public square also features the lesser-known Fontana delle Api (Fountain of the Bees). Originally constructed as a horse trough, the smaller work’s design features a seashell and three bees.