Fontana del Mosè

The Fontana dell’Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, is a monumental fountain located in the Quirinale District of Rome, Italy. It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V. It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88.

At the beginning the reign of Pope Sixtus V (born Felice Peretti) in 1585, only one of the ancient Roman aqueducts which brought water to the city, the Aqua Vergine, was still being maintained and working. Everyone in Rome who wanted clean drinking water had to go to the single fountain near the site of today’s Trevi Fountain.


The initial effort to build the aqueduct, by architect Matteo Bartolani, was a failure: Bartolani miscalculated the incline of the channel, so the flow of water was much less than needed reach the Quirinal Hill, the intended site of its terminal fountain. Giovanni Fontana took over the building of the aqueduct, which was completed by June 1587. A fountain was constructed by architect engineer Domenico Fontana in the form of an ancient Roman triumphal arch. It featured, as ancient Roman fountains did, an inscription honoring its builder, Pope Sixtus. beneath angels holding the papal coat of arms. Within each of the three arches were sculptures on Old Testament subjects. The central arch featured a large statue of Moses, made in 1588 by Leonardo Sormani and Prospero da Brescia. To the left is Aaron, sculpted by Giovanni Battista della Porta and to the right is Joshua sculpted by Flaminio Vacca and Pietro Paolo Olivieri. Water flows from the statues into basins, where four lions are spouting water.