The base of the fountain is a basin from the centre of which travertine rocks rise to support four river gods and above them, an ancient Egyptian obelisk with the Pamphili family emblem of a dove with an olive twig mounted on the top of the obelisk.


2013 Italy Holiday


The four river gods represent four major rivers of the four continents through which papal authority had spread: the river god of the Nile representing Africa, the Danube river god representing Europe, the Ganges river god representing Asia and the god of the Rio de la Plata river representing the Americas.

The fountain was commissioned by Pope Innocent X whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced the piazza as did the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone of which Innocent was the sponsor and that church is behind the fountain in the photograph below, as well as some people that crowd Piazza Navona.


The continents of the Americas are represented by the Rio de la Plata river god and is sitting on a pile of coins, a symbol of the riches America could offer to Europeans. In addition, the river god looks scared by a snake, showing rich men's fear that their money could be stolen.


Links to Our 2013 Holiday in Italy

The Pantheon
Hadrian's Monuments
Four Rivers Fountain, Pg. 2
The Lateran Basilica, Pg. 1
The Lateran Basilica, Pg. 2
Largo di Torre Argentina
The Amalfi Coast
Mountains and Sea
More Cosenza
More Rovito

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