Off the beaten track, the Fountain of Moses is one of the many fountains in Rome designed by Domenico Fontana.
Fontana along with Giacomo della Porta was an architect of St. Peter's Basilica and designed many churches, facades and fountains in the Eternal City.
In 1585 Felice Peretti became Pope Sixtus V and was determined to restore Rome to its former glory which had waned after the sack of Rome in 1527. He created an aqueduct whose source lies at the town of Pantano 15 miles away and modestly renamed it the Acqua Felice. Fontana's brother Giovanni (or John) carried out the aqueduct and Domenico was commissioned to create a fountain here at its terminus on the Quirinal hill. It's official name is the Fontana dell' Acqua Felice or the Fountain of the Felice Water.
best fountains in rome
Fontana completed the fountain two years in 1587 and further statues were added before the Pope passed away in 1590.
marble statue of moses
The fountain contains three niches with four ionic columns, one on either side.
Above is an architrave with the year of completion inscribed in latin and further above the attic records the Pope who commissioned the work. The attic is surmounted by the Papal family crest with an two angels, two mini obelisks and a crucifix.
rome moses statue
Originally the niches were empty and had no statues until in 1589 Leonardo Sormani and Prospero Antichi added the Moses in the central niche. Moses holds the ten commandments in his left hand and points to the rock where the water sprang forth with his right. The Pope wanted Moses to resemble Michelangelo's Moses in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli and as a result it has drawn criticism for not living up to the standard of that master.
statue of moses rome
In the left niche is a bas relief showing Aaron Leading the Israelites to Quench their Thirst. After the Jews escaped Egypt and crossed the Reed/Red Sea they needed water and Moses apparently struck a rock with his staff from which water sprang forth [Exodus 17:1-7]. The right niche depicts Joshua Guiding the Soldiers and People of Israel to the Crossing of the Jordan [Joshua 3:1-17]. All three niches contain an Torah/Old Testament based water theme.
rome's famous fountain
At the bottom of the fountain are four Egyptian lions sculpted by Adamo Tadolini who was the assistant of Antonio Canova. These are copies of lions which sit in the Courtyard of the Pine Cone in the Vatican Museums.
The Fontana Dell' Acqua Felice or Moses Fountain is one of the hidden gems in the Eternal City. If you would like to see it as part of walking or driving tour of the Squares of Rome you can send me an email through the link in the menu.
Updated by Dara McCarthy on . Scroll to Top
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Just loved all the info that Dara gave us. Excellent tour and tour guide. Would recommend your tours to our friends visiting Rome. Thanks for your services.
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Dara was very helpful and informative. He knew each room and detail and I am glad that he was our tour guide. He had a nice personality and I was amazed with his ability to keep counting our group to make sure all were together before we moved forward. I have already recommended your tour to other people as I traveled in other parts of Italy.
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This was the most enjoyable tour of our entire two week vacation to Italy. The guide was quite knowledgeable and interjected fun facts and humor which made it even more engaging for our children - ages 20, 17 & 15. He was always respectful of the faith and reminded us of the rules - which from the noise level in the cathedral, other tour guides must not have been as informative.
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Dara was very funny and gave great information. Truly enjoyed this!
5.0 Stars Susan Kiner
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Dara's tour was fantastic. He made 2000 years of history much more fun than expected. I would certainly take his tour again when I next visit Rome. I learned so much and had a great time. Thanks!
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Dara was fantastic! Not only very informative but funny as well. He kept the group together well, he frequently asked if everyone was okay and we stopped for toilet breaks. The tour was so interesting and well paced. It was also great that Dara was able to talk and walk at the same time unlike the guide the following day at the colosseum who hurried us past everything then ushered us into the shade to talk for 20-30 minutes at a time(I'll rate that one next)!
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Dara was great. We had to leave the tour early because our ship changed the departure time from the port city - move it up 1 hour. Dara gave us great directions on where to go to see what we wanted to see since we couldn't stay with the tour. He also was very informative while the hour or so we were with the tour.
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He was the perfect balance of wit and knowledge - was amazed at the depth of his knowledge and he has ability to communicate the facts in an interesting manner - also gave us a good selection of the things worth seeing - I have recommended the tour on our expedia review of Rome
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|Piazza del Popolo|
|Santa Maria del Popolo|
|The Spanish Steps|
|Fountain of Moses|
|Campo de' Fiori|
|Jewish Ghetto Rome|