The 17th-century Acqua Paola fountain in Rome's Piazza Trilussa is to undergo an 11-month restoration programme after which it will be unveiled to the public on 14 February 2014, in time for Valentine's Day.
The €388,000 funds required by the project were raised privately in exchange for the provision of advertising space on the hoarding around the fountain. The advertisements will change every month and the first sponsor will be South Korean car company Kia.
The Acqua Paola fountain is one of four fountains in Rome currently being restored through a similar modus operandi. Its restoration follows that of the Tritone Fountain in Piazza Barberini, which began last November and is scheduled for completion in October.
After Piazza Trilussa, the next fountain on the list is the "Barcaccia" in Piazza di Spagna upon which the €210,000 works will begin in August and finish in April 2014. Lastly, the €300,000 restoration of Piazza del Popolo's Fountain of the Lions will start in November and is expected to conclude during the summer of 2015.
Central to the Piazza Trilussa project is the cleaning and restoration of the hydraulic system, which will reactivate the water spouts from the heads of the fountain’s two dragons and two lions, which haven’t worked for years. The works also provide for a new lighting system, a washable anti-graffiti lacquer, and a restyling of the area surrounding the monument including the steps and the garden behind.
The travertine fountain was constructed in 1613 by Giovanni Vasanzio, the Dutch-born architect and designer who undertook much work for Rome’s Borghese family. Indeed the monument was commissioned by a Borghese – Pope Paolo V – and still bears his family crest.
The fountain was initially located on Via Giulia, on the other side of the river but in 1879 it was dismantled to make way for the construction of the protective walls around the Tiber. In 1898 it was reconstructed in its current position.