Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fontana Pretoria

Fontana Pretoria, Palermo (click to enlarge)
The Fontana Pretoria (pictured here) is located in the Piazza della Pretoria (see below), which sits on the corner of Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emmanuele in Palermo.  The fountain was originally destined for the Florentine villa of Don Pietro di Toledo but was instead sold to the Senate of Palermo in 1573 and assembled in Palermo in 1574.  The idea of the fountain (and the piazza) was to emulate what Michelangelo had done for the Campidoglio in Rome as the Senate of Palermo resides in the square where the fountain sits.

Comically, the square is known to many palermitani as the Piazza della Vergogna (Piazza of Shame) because of the many nude statutes that surround the fountain (many surmise that the sale of the fountain to Palermo was to avoid the "scandalous nature" of so many nude statues).  The sculptures were dismantled into 644 pieces and transported to Palermo where Camillo Camilliani, the son of the Francesco Camilliani (who designed the fountain), reassembled it, completing the re-assembly in 1584.

This fountain is one of the few works from the Renaissance in Palermo.

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