The Fontana del Prigione or Fontana del Prigioniero (Fountain of the Prison or Prisoner), which is now situated on the slopes of the Janiculum Hill, was originally made for the garden of Villa Montalto-Peretti, an imposing residence on the Esquiline hill, which was built by the architect Domenico Fontana (1543-1607) for Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-90).
The villa was knocked down in the second half of the 19th century to make way for Stazione Termini, Rome's main railway station. The Fontana del Prigione survived the destruction. It was dismantled and rebuilt in nearby Via Genova. However, its stay there was short-loved and it was later moved to Via Goffredo Mameli, where it remains.
What on earth does the fountain have to do with either a prison or prisoner? The name comes from the statue of a prisoner with his hands tied, part of a sculptural group that included statues of Apollo and Venus, which once stood inside the central niche.
See also: the Fountains of Rome.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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