Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

This Fountain owes its name to Pope Paul V after he restored it, it remains a picturesque spot to this day.

TravelCurious Tip

The opening scene of the brilliant, Oscar-winning La Grande Belleza was filmed here. If you are going to Rome, you must watch it.

Wine into Water

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola is a colossal fountain found on Janiculum Hill, the second tallest hill in modern Rome. It was built in 1612 and not long after it was restored by Pope Paul V, after whom it was named. He decided to rebuild and extend Emperor Trajan’s ruined Acqua Traiana to provide clean drinking water for the people living on Janiculum Hill. He raised funds for this by taxing wine, which allegedly irritated some residents.


The fountain was designed by the appropriately named Giovanni Fontana, along with Flaminio Ponzi. Four of its six pink-stone columns were taken from the façade of the old St Peter’s Basilica, and white marble was dragged from the nearby ruins of the Rome Temple of Minerva to build the five massive arches for the arrival of the water. At the top of the fountain the papal tiara and keys pay tribute to the man behind the project. Below them is the Borghese family coat of arms: an eagle and a dragon, held by angels.

Man and Beast

Originally the fountain was designed with five small basins for water, but these were replaced by a single large granite basin in 1690. This proved singularly tempting to man and beast alike. Marble posts had to be added to prevent horses from drinking from the fountain, and in 1707 an ordinance had to be issued banning residents from bathing in it.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Aventine Hill
Amazing vistas across Rome, beautiful roses, and a secret keyhole with a special view of St. Peter’s.
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Pyramid of Cestius
A rarely-visited tomb that is over 2000 years old, well preserved thanks to its part in the ancient city fortifications.
Porta Portese Market
A large and bustling flea market, held every Sunday in Trastevere.
Gelato Ice Cream
The world-famous Italian ice cream perfect on a hot day in the city.
Janiculum Hill
The walk up to Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo in Italian) provides spectacular views of the Alban hills.

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