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Fontanta Paola and the Fountain of Fountain Hills

Jul 5, 2008
Fontana Paola

Bringing water to Rome was always of great importance in the ancient city - if you could achieve a steady supply of clean and healthy water as Pope Sixtus V did with the Acqua Felice then you were truly considered a success. You could see this success specifically commemorated in fountains all across the city with carvings of emblems and coats of arms.

The fountain of Fontana Paola came into being because Pope Paul V wished to emulate the success of his predecessors and to create a new source of water - the Acqua Paola. The fountain here would be set on the imposing setting of the Janiculum in Rome and would celebrate his success in finding and diverting a new source of water. It's difficult to think of a more fitting monument to celebrate this in than a fountain, after all.

Pope Paul V commissioned two of the Fontanas - Giovanni and Carlo - to construct a fountain of travertine on the spot he had picked. Plans for the outdoor fountain included six columns and other parts of masonry that were taken from the ruins of the Temple of Minerva. The Fontana Paolo fountain was an extremely ambitious project - the designers had to plan and build for five arches (three big and two small) with cascades that flowed into a vast sunken basin for the large arches and into smaller receptacles for the smaller ones.

Pope Paul V's family arms - the griffin and the eagle - were obviously well represented in terms of design. As was the habit of the day, his emblems were used as decoration on the fountain and his success was marked by an inscription for the entire world to see. Sadly, however, he did not survive to see the finished results even though he died ten years after he gave the go-ahead to begin work. It took over 70 years in the end to finish the fountain here. Despite the length of time it took to complete, not all people can agree on how well the fountain works either aesthetically or literally. Many people believe that the Fontana Paolo contains one of the most striking inscriptions of all the fountains in Rome. However, many people also believe that the flow of water doesn't work as effectively as it should considering how imposing the structure was meant to be.

Although the fountain here is relatively old it also has a resonance for more recent history as well. It was here that Garibaldi entered the final stages of his long defense of the republic. It was on and above the terraces of the fountain that he fought his brave fight. For many visitors this adds certain significance to the fountain.

Arizona's Hidden Secret: The Fountain of Fountain Hills

Fountain Hills, Arizona, is the home to the second largest fountain in the world. The city of Fountain Hills is sparsely populated and its homes are widely spaced, offering a more rural setting then the adjacent city of Scottsdale. Having no name of its own, the water feature of Fountain Hills was erected in 1971. Robert P. McCulloch designed and built the fountain. McCulloch's other projects included the reconstruction of the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The fountain of Fountain Hills was part of a revitalization project which began in 1960 to improve and make the flat desert space of rural Arizona more desirable to families and other potential residents. The design of the fountain went through several revisions before the final structure was agreed on. The fountain consists of a beautifully sculpted and massive water lily that appears to rest on the surface of a lake. The lily is built from blue-gray limestone imported from Italy. The body of water that the lily "floats" on is a man-made 28 acre lake in the heart of downtown Fountain Hills. The lake is surrounded by lush fields of grass which are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, providing the perfect setting for an afternoon lunch, an evening escape, or a Saturday morning ball game. Fountain Park has several festivals throughout the year that entice visitors from around the world to attend.

Images of the Fountain Hills water feature can be found on any of the city's governmental documents, souvenirs, and keepsakes sold at local shops. The fountain is a testament to American innovation and pioneering spirit because it and surrounding areas were built from literally nothing to become one of the hottest tourist and living destinations of the American southwest.

The fountain spews water up to 562 feet in the air once an hour when weather conditions are ideal. This is three times higher then the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. It is also ten times taller then the Washington Monument. The fountain is powered by three 600 horsepower pumps making it the most powerful fountain in the world. The fountain is visible from several miles away and remains the cultural and historic symbol of Fountain Hills. Today, the fountain is a landmark that is internationally recognized as one of the world's largest fountains.
About the Author
Sarah Martin is a freelance writer specializing in travel and leisure, home improvement, and life insurance. She is based in San Diego, CA and enjoys collecting garden and wall fountains in her spare time. For a great selection of garden fountains, please visit http://www.garden-fountains.com.
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