• Lifestyle
    • Art & Culture

The fountains and pools of Lombardy's cities

 

Monumental fountains, historic fountains, commemorative fountains, and drinking water fountains: the squares, streets, and parks of Lombardy's cities are adorned with artistic treasures from every era, symbolising the abundant water of our region and our love for art.

 

Functional ancient structures connected to the city aqueducts, works bearing the signature of famous sculptors, architectural marvels conceived by talented designers, and humble dispensers of drinking water: Lombardy's fountains can be admired as sculptures but also offer water games and refreshment, quenching the thirst of passers-by for free.

 

The fountains: a few notes on history and technology
Representing essential points of access to water, fountains have combined practical and ornamental purposes since the Hellenistic age. Admired by the ancient Romans but substituted in the Medieval era by wells due to the destruction of aqueducts, they flourished again in the Baroque and Renaissance periods. Until the end of the 19th century, they operated by gravity or hydraulic mechanisms that fed them with water from rivers. In the the 20th century, however, electricity made it possible to transport underground water flows, pushing them to the surface with powerful jets of water. Today, to avoid waste, fountains function as closed circuits: the water is filtered and recovered by hydraulic pumps. Here is a map of Italy's fountains. Let's discover some of the most beautiful of Lombardy's fountains. 

 

Brescia, the city of a thousand fountains
In 1869 Brescia, the "city of 1,000 fountains", boasted 2018 fountains (78 of which were public and 1,940 of which were private), fed by the Villa Cogozzo and Mompiano aqueducts. Among the oldest of these, the majestic Pallata fountain (1569) was designed by Bagnatore and features sculptures by Carra and Bonesini. The two lower statues represent the divinities of the Mella and Garza rivers. The Broletto fountain, however, with its goblet-shaped basin in Botticino marble, dates back to the 1700s, while the four-lobed fountain in Piazza Vescovado dates back to the 18th century. At the centre of Piazza del Mercato we find the fountain of Luigi Donegani (1822), featuring an ephebe and dolphin sculpted by Giovanni Antonio Labus. 

The fountains: "dancing" monuments in Milan
In Milan, there are more than 70 public fountains: here is a map and dedicated site. Let's begin with the exquisite Neoclassical fountain  by Piermarini in Piazza Fontana, featuring pink granite basins and the Teodolinde, sirens riding a marble dragon. Let us now travel forward in time to admire the play of water in the Four Seasons fountain, which can be found in Piazza Giulio Cesare. Dating back to 1927, it still retains its own charm against the backdrop of the contemporary City Life. In Piazza Castello, in front of the Sforza Castle, we can find the 'turta di spus', a 40m-wide fountain with sloping basins reminiscent of a wedding cake. Built by the AEM in 1936 and removed in the 1960s to allow the construction of the underground railway, it came to light again in 2000. At the Triennale, the magical spectacle of swimmers, animals and coloured objects immersed in the Mysterious Baths, designed by Giorgio De Chirico (1973), awaits us. Finally, let's not forget the three circular overflowing fountains in Piazza Gae Aulenti, Porta Nuova: here, visitors are met with a riot of jets, lights and music, which are greatly appreciated by those seeking relief from the heat.

 

Drinking water fountains: quench your thirst with local water 
These fountains are so widespread throughout Lombardy that they have been given a dedicated site, map and even an App: there are 754 drinking fountains in Milan alone! Nicknamed 'green dragons' (because of the shape of their mouth and colour) or 'widows' (because their continuous flow recalls the tears of a grieving wife), they are 1.5m tall and marked with the municipal coat of arms. The first, which dates back to the early 1900s and is made of gilded bronze, is located in Piazza della Scala and is the work of architect Luca Beltrami.     

 

Bergamo, from the fountains to the city
Welcoming us to Bergamo's upper city is the Contarini fountain with its sphinxes, lions and an octagonal basin in Zandobbio marble. But in the fortress itself, the fountains were mainly used to supply the Roman aqueduct: hence the ancient Lantro fountain (10th century) with its magnificent vault converging into a single column immersed in the large water basin (400m3) and the Antescolis fountain, an historic 13th-century washhouse. 

 

In Como, between tradition and modernity
In front of the neoclassical Villa Olmo (dating back to the 18th century), we can find the spectacular fountain commissioned by the Visconti di Modrone dukes and sculpted by Gerolamo Oldofredi, which is animated by cherubs struggling with a sea serpent. Poles apart from this example of Classicism is the monumental fountain in Camerlata (CO), built by Cesare Cattaneo and Mario Radice in 1936 and rebuilt in 1960. According to its creators, it is "a work of pure decoration, a celebration of the beautiful forms that can be obtained through perfect geometry".

PHOTO: foUNTAIN Contarini, visitbergamo.net

On the same topic

What to see in Lombardy

A remarkable artistic heritage, a variety of landscapes, rich cultural traditions... all waiting to be discovered!
  • Lifestyle
What to see in Lombardy

Shopping Window Stories in Cremona

  • Lifestyle
Shopping Window Stories in Cremona

Tour of the Monza ENI Circuit

Take a tour of the most exclusive areas and the track of the Monza Circuit with the Autodromo guide
  • Lifestyle
Tour autodromo Monza

Navigli milanesi and Darsena

Historical/cultural tour of the Navigli Milanesi
  • Lifestyle
Itinerario della Darsena

Zona tortona

The "Cinderella" of the city, turned from industrial area into queen of art, fashion, design and nightlife
  • Lifestyle
Zona Tortona

Cremona’s Tourist Tax is suspended

For the entire year 2021 the tourist tax in Cremona will be suspended
  • Lifestyle
Cremona’s Tourist Tax is suspended

Bergamo Bassa

In Bergamo the visit starts from the bottom of the town, from its historic villages, and goes on by climbing slowly
  • Lifestyle
Historical places and green areas in Bergamo

Milan from the Top

With its skyscrapers to challenge the dizzy heights of the Duomo and the surrounding mountains ...
  • Lifestyle
Torre Allianz

Travelling by underground in Lombardy: between history and curiosity

The Milan and Brescia underground lines: one is the longest underground railway network in Italy, and the other is the least populated of the seven cities in Italy to have an underground railway network. 
  • Lifestyle
Viaggiare in metropolitana in Lombardia, tra storia e curiosità

6 Things to do with children in Monza and Brianza

  • Lifestyle
Centrale elettrica Bertini

IT’S CARNIVAL!

Cremona, the ideal background for the craziest days of the year.
  • Lifestyle
IT’S CARNIVAL!

From Varese to Lake Maggiore

Discovering Varese and Lake Maggiore in 72 hours. A long weekend in the countryside
  • Lifestyle
Da Varese al Lago Maggiore

SPECIAL OPENING DAYS AT THE VIOLIN'S MUSEUM

  • Lifestyle
SPECIAL OPENING DAYS AT THE VIOLIN'S MUSEUM

Summertime in Lecco

When the days get warm, refresh yourself going to the lake or to the mountains: Lecco offers a lot of outdoor activities
  • Lifestyle
Have you tried cycling downhill?

VIP Tour at Monza ENI Circuit

Experience all the thrills of the Monza Circuit with a super-exclusive visit..
  • Lifestyle
Tour Vip Autodromo di Monza

Monza in a weekend

From the Treasure of Theodelinda to the thrill of the Autodromo. Discover Monza in 48 hours: a twospeed city. With amazing masterpieces
  • Lifestyle
Monza in a weekend

Como in a weekend

A mediaeval heart for the city that loves science and design with light. Discover Como in 48 hours. Without ever losing sight of the lake
  • Lifestyle
Como in a weekend

Cremona’s Guest Book

The emotions of those who decide to visit Cremona
  • Lifestyle
Cremona’s Guest Book

10 good reasons to visit Lodi

  • Lifestyle
10 good reasons to visit Lodi

Brera district

The artistic heart and the bohemian soul of the city
  • Lifestyle
Brera District