The Fontanella del Facchino (Fountain of the Porter), in Via Lata, takes the form of a weathered old man holding a barrel, out of which flows a stream of water. The man is not actually a porter, but an acquarolo (water carrier), a figure who made a living out of providing fresh water to people's homes. The water was hawked door to door in barrels called coppelle.
The acquarolo is thought to be Abbondio Rizio, a well-known local character, who was noted for his strength and his drinking prowess.
The fountain, which dates back to the end of the 16th century, could once be found in the nearby Via del Corso and was so famous that it gave its name to the immediate neighbourhood, which was known as the Isola del Facchino.
The Fontanella del Facchino is also one of Rome's six 'talking' statues.
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 walking tours of Rome.
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