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“The charming "leaky old boat" fountain by Bernini”
Review of Fontana Barcaccia

Fontana Barcaccia
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US$79.26*
and up
Small Group Roman Dolce Vita with Local Tips
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US$85.35*
and up
24 or 48hr Rome Hop-on Hop-off Tour with Skip-the-line Colosseum
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US$115.84*
and up
Private Tour: Rome's Squares and Fountains
Ranked #105 of 1,735 things to do in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: No one knows for sure what the meaning is behind this fountain, an intriguing baroque statue of a large half-sunken ship that spouts water.
Reviewed 28 October 2012

Fontana della Barcaccia, the "leaky old boat," is a Baroque fountain in the Piazza di Spagna at the base of the magnificent Spanish Steps. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and was built by Pietro Bernini and his son, the great architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Legend has it that the fountain was inspired by a boat that washed up after the Tiber flooded. The coat of arms of the Barberini family is carved on the fountain to remind you the Pope was a Barberini. This is an engaging fountain that children of all ages seem to love. Make sure to walk out on the stepping stones and have a refreshing drink from the fountain!

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Reviewed 6 August 2012

The Barcaccia Fountain is the shallow fountain that is at the foot of the Spanish Steps. It’s easy to ignore it since all cameras point up the steps, well above the fountain. However, the fountain is very charming and deserves attention, too. It was designed by Bernini, like many of the other fountains and statues around the city. Supposedly he was inspired by once finding a boat that had been washed up at that spot during a flooding of the Tiber River. So he designed a partially submerged boat at the foot of the Spanish Steps. It’s a beautiful little fountain—bringing to an otherwise grand setting some human spirit of the river people who might use such a little boat.

Practical Info: The best way to reach the Barcaccia Fountain and Spanish Steps is by walking up Via Condotti. Take Rome’s main thoroughfare Via del Corso, which cuts ancient/tourist Rome in half and passes near to a lot of the major sights—then head up Via Condotti towards the Spanish Steps. There are a lot of elite and fun shops on this street. However, the prices are sky-high and the merchandise isn’t really that special—just elite and with a fancy label. So, window shopping is where the fun is here. At the end of the street, the Barcaccia Fountain will be spouting before you. Also, there’s a famous McDonald’s which faces the Spanish Steps. Inside, the McDonald’s is designed like an ancient Roman villa. If you’d like a cool drink or need a bathroom stop, you might pop inside to see a rare McDonald’s.

Thank Loretta R
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Reviewed 5 days ago
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