Friday, January 17, 2020

Rome Journal: La Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

La Fontana dell'Acqua Paola
It’s easy to understand why Paolo Sorrentino chose the Fontana dell’acqua Paola or Il Fontanone near the Church of San Pietro in Montorio which houses Bramante’s famed Tempietto for the opening shot of La grand beliezza. The fountain which is actually a monument to Pope Paul V was built to mark the completion of the restoration of an important aqueduct in 1612. The structure itself set on the Gianicolo overlooks a majestic vista of Rome on the Via Garibaldi. It’s an antique yet post-modern take on the iconic image of Anita Ekberg immersing herself in the Trevi fountain in La Dolce Vita—the film to which Sorrentino’s work begs comparison. Actually, the Baroque fountain designed by Giovanni Fontana (whose name unlikely derived from his metier) became an influence on the later Trevi fountain which was started by Nicola Salva and completed by Guiseppe Pannini in 1762. But the earlier fountain actually offers both a more expansive view and pool. Esther Williams could have swam laps in it. La grand beliezza was made in 2013, 53 years after La Dolce Vita and if the light of the Eternal City had begun to shimmer or at least change its hue then the Fontana dell’acqua Paola provided a more 21st Century view.

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