When I arrived at this small crossroad of the Via del Quirinale and the Via del Quattro Fontane, I wondered why Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) had ordered to build four fountains at this spot?
Actually this crossroad is the highest point of the Quirinal hill. From here one can see the three obelisks placed by Sixtus V at Santa Maria Maggiore, Trinita dei Monte and Quirinal.
The fountains were included only later in the buildings on the corners among which the church of San Carlo. The distance from corner to corner is rather small so that the perspective is not the best. The present traffic makes the views even worse.
Three of the fountains are from the great architect Domenico Fontana.
The fourth on the north side is by Pietro da Cortona.
Two fountains Il Tevere (Tiber) and Arno show river gods. The two with female figures show Diana and Juno.
I came across this beautiful ensemble of four fountains/sculptures unexpectedly, while making my way along Via del Quirinale to the Spanish Steps. Not having read about it or prepared this route before, I was all the more impressed.
I was immediately taken by the serene beauty of the sculpture representing River Tiber, calmly reclining and as if looking over my head, his hand resting on a jug spouting water into the little pool, and a wolf standing beside him.
Then my gaze remained fixed on the goddess Juno, resting under a tree, stroking a water-spouting lion...
When I looked at old Tiber again, a boy was filling his water bottle from the spout, and I liked the juxtaposition of the ancient timeless beauty and the practical, functional role it played even today (see photo)...
I then crossed the busy street to get a closer look at the River Arno sculpture. The building at the corner of which Arno is located is not in the best state of repair, but old River Arno seems aloof and unconcerned, lookin good.
Last but not least, I paid an admiring visit to the goddess Diana, Pietro da Cortona's work, and then admired the beautiful, undulating Baroque facade of the adjoining church, Borromini's San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane.
I later learnt that the four fountains were commissioned by Pope Sixtus V in the late Renaissance period and were built between 1588-1593.
The earky 17th church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is designed by the architect Francesco Borromini. It is iconic masterpiece of the Baroque architecture, built as a part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of christian slaves.
Above the main entrance to the church cherubim herms frame the central figure of the Saint Carlo Borromeo, by Antonio Raggi. The either side are statues of St. John of Matha and St. Felix of Valois, the founders of Trinitarian Order.
That day I was in a fountain mood... Before reaching the Fontana de Trevi, I stopped at Piazza delle Quattro Fontane (Square of the Four Fountains.) At each of the four corners of this Piazza, there is a fountain decorated with a statue. Each fountain was fed by the Acqua Felice, an ancient aqueduct built under Emperor Claudius and restored under Pope Sixte Quint. The name Acqua Felice is from that Pope's Christian name, Felice.
I read that the Acqua Felice has been further restored in recent years but can't provide details as to the exact year... Acqueduct restorations are beyond my understanding and I'll leave it to engineers.
I can assure you, however, that none of the four statues can talk.
The Piazza delle Quattro Fontane is by the Church of San Carlo, near Palazzo Albani del Drago.
This Palazzo was sold by the Albani family to Queen Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies and eventually became the property of the Queen's son-in-law, Prince del Drago.
The story goes as follows:
Soon after the death of her husband Ferdinand VII of Spain (of Goya fame), Maria Christina married a sergeant of the Royal Guard, who became Duke of Riansares. They had children together but kept it a secret.
One child was Maria de los Milagros, Marchioness of Castillejo, born 1835, who married Filippo del Drago, Principe del Drago di Mazzano e d'Antuni (1824-1913).
and that's how Filippo got the Palazzo.
The interior of the Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains is very interesting and it is one of the first interior design made by Borromini. It is small, white without Baroque gilding and with curves that give an undulationg movement effect.
As soon you enter in the church you see in front of you the main altar showing the Trinity made by Pierre Mignard. On the left chapel there is the Romanelli's work rest from the escape.
The oval entablature to the dome has a 'crown' of foliage and frames a view of deep set interlocking coffering of octagons, crosses and hexagons which diminish in size the higher they rise.
Next to the church you can see the wonderful cloister: the space is longer along the entrance axis than it is wider, but the rectangular ordering is interrupted by cutting the corners so it could also be understood as an elongated octagon. Twelve columns gave an idea of movement in the space.
The wonderful church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains, in English) is a masterpiece of the architect Francesco Borromini. He started the work of construction in 1638 for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves. The church is dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo.
The fantastic facade is one of the best example of Baroque architecture in Rome. San Carlo has a concave-convex facade with many ondulations. Tall corinthian columns define the main framework of two storeys and the tripartite bay division. Between the columns there are windows and a variety of sculptures. The central oval aedicule of the upper order and the oval framed medallion borne aloft by angels. Above the main entrance, cherubim herms frame the central figure of Saint Charles Borromeo by Ercole Antonio Raggi and to either side are statues of St. John of Matha and St. Felix of Valois, the founders of the Trinitarian Order.
The crossroad among Via Quirinale/Via XX Settembre and Via Quattro Fontane was made by Pope Sistus V.
On the corner of the crossroad there are four wonderful fountains, built among 1588 and 1593, showing the Tiber River (the symbo of Rome), the Arno River (the symbol of Florence), Juno (symbol of fortitude) and Diana (symbol of faithfulness). The first three fountains were built by Domenico Fontana, instead Juno was made by Pietro da Cortona.
This is another remarkable baroque church of Rome on an oval design, built by Francesco Borromini at only 200 m from St. Andrea al Quirinal also on an oval plan (by Bernini).
On a small building site next to the Quatro Fontane crossroad the architect Borromini started the building in 1638 on an oval plan but oriented longitudinally. The elliptic plan gives the illusion of a big space.
The dome is oval with caissons of various shapes, octagonal, hexagonal and cross-shaped. In the centre is the symbol of the Trinity, the emblem of the religious order of the Trinitari. The main purpose of the order founded in the 12th c. was the redemption of Christians captured and enslaved by Moslems. The church is dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo.
I visited this rather sober church, which is mostly white, after St. Andrea and I must say that I preferred the polychrome decor of Bernini's interior.
The baroque façade of San Carlo is amazing by the combination of convex and concave lines.
The architect never submitted a bill for his work. A room outside the sacristy was set aside for Borromini's tomb, but it remains empty as he committed suicide.
The frontage needs some cleaning. The traffic on the via del Quirinale has done no good to the frontage of the church a well to the four fountains on the corners of the street.
Open 9-13 (Monday - Saturday) and16-18 h [Monday Friday].
Sunday 12-13h (mass at 11h)
So I am walking my daughter back to her hotel, and we walk by the corner where there a four fountains one on every corner. At the corner of via de quirinnale and, you guessed it via quattro fontana. or least pretty darn close. Fountains on each corner, although it is a bit hard to see all at one time, unless you had eyes in the back of your head and instead also in your ears. But if you were so gifted, you could see all at the same time.
At the crossroads of the Via del Quirinale and Via di Quattro Fontane are the four fountains which give the road and the church on the corner, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, their names. One graces each corner, personifying the Tiber, the Nile, Diana and Juno.
They are lovely, but they make crossing the road at this point very dangerous!
Also known as “San Carlino”, for its small dimensions, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane was designed by Francesco Borromini and completed in 1667. The interior employs ingenious curves that give light to a small site, while the dome is lit by concealed windows.
From an architectural point of view, this building is well-worth a short stop-over, especially if you've just come from the Spanish Steps.
This is a magnificent design by Borromini, particularly considering the severe land constraints placed upon him by the close proximity of the Quattro Fontaine crossroads.
This church and convent, SO SMALL it could probably fit into one of the piers of St.Peters, is designed to make best use of light though the employment of strong, fluid curves.
The dome is also made to look higher than it actually is through the concealing of the windows, and clever use of illusionistic coffering.
Opening hours 10am-1pm daily. Afternoon openings 3-7pm mon-friday.
If you are staying in the Termini area and want to go for a stroll, head northwest down the Via Delle Quattro Fontane for a nice surprise (ok, ok, the name of the street is a tip-off!)
While walking "home" from Piazza Barberini, we came to this intersection that boasts four very cool and detailed fountains. Incidentally, this intersection is also the highest point of the Quirinale Hill. Not all the fountains are equal in interest--the one pictured here is the most beautiful. Just watch out for cars if you decide to look at all of them, this place is rather busy in terms of traffic and not a good place to gawk.
At the junction of Via della Quatro Fontane and Via del Quirinale you will find 4 small fountains embeded in the corners of the buildings. They are dating back to 1585-1590.
The four fountains all have a deity figure. Two are female and depict Strenght and Faith, the other two are male.One of them is the river Tiber (with the rivergod and the she-wolf), th eother is probably the river Arno.