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The fountains that make up the grouping in the Piazza del Popolo in Rome were designed by Giusseppe Valadier, a distinguished architect, whose intent was to make the piazza a gateway into the city itself, by creating his grand design!

The designs of the fountain are very difficult, but they are important because they are designed to complement the overall plan for the piazza. The first fountains feature a semi-circular shape with two basins. The top basin is in a shell design. However, it is the water that makes the fountain so appealing, as it streams through the supporting walls, and across the shells. The fountain that is around the obelisk in the square features a much grander design. The fountain features ornate lion sculptures, from whose mouth water gushes into four large basins. There is a strong Egyptian theme because the obelisk was taken as war booty by Ocatvius after he defeated Marc Antony at Actium. 

Valadier was able to create a completely elegant picture, by using complimenting components. The fountains are understated, yet innovative while being classical, and imposing while exuding grace. All of the fountains have a powerful impact that allows them to stand out. The detailing behind the fountains portrays groupings. For example, one features Mars in full armor, as well as the River gods. The other group features Neptune and two tritons. These images were planned by Valadier to make an elaborate backdrop to the simplicity of the fountains. 

Valadier had even larger plans for his fountains that could have been built in the piazza, but the water supplies during the time, could not support the plans he had. These fountains are not the first fountains to stand in the piazza. Domenica Fontana had designed a fountain for this space, and when plans to reconstruct the piazza began, this fountain had to be moved. The Fontana fountain was relocated to the gardens in Janiculum, where in now stands today.