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Pincian Hill, Rome, Italy

The Pincian Hill in Rome was, until recent years, fed water from the Acqua Felice. These public gardens were almost as high in terms of altitude as the water’s source itself which made for interesting problems when it came to creating fountains in the gardens as this very location had an effect on how water would work in a fountain structure.

Due to this altitude issue, fountains that were to be built in the Pincian Hills would have plenty of water on offer but would only work in the kind of design that is known as a ‘sheet of water’. So, fountains of this design resemble more of a flat pool than a waterfall, as an example. The more traditional and common-place jets of water just wouldn’t work in this location.

You can see how this dilemma was solved in the primary fountain here – the architect of both the fountain and the Pincian gardens, Count Brazza, created the perfect fountain back-drop to suit the water conditions. So, you’ll see that this particular fountain shows Moses as a baby with his mother in the bulrushes in the midst of a pool of calm water. His mother is in the process of leaving her baby and the figure of Moses’ mother mutely asking for protection for her defenseless child is truly touching.

The whole point with this Pincian fountain is that the Moses story is one of calm and quiet anguish rather than one of dynamic action. So, the pool of water in which the tableau of Moses and his mother is laid out is a perfect complement to the concept and story that the fountain depicts. In fact jets of gushing water would be totally out of place here and would spoil a very fine piece of sculpture.

The Pincian gardens themselves are a mix of sociable fun and quiet contemplation. If you visit the fountain here in the morning then you will note all of the aforementioned qualities in the peace of the early hours in the day. However, if you take a visit during the afternoon when the gardens are filling up with people then you may not quite get the same effects from the fountain.