The Creation and Ideas Behind the Four Fountains
To follow the course of the Aqua Felice as it came to Rome, it was designed to send water to the Capotiline Hill, supplying a series of fountains on the way, which the City authorities had planned when they decided to buy 100 ounces of water. The Authorites declared on September 9th, 1587 that, “that under the powers of the Public Council the fountains of the Aqua Felice are to be made in the places here under written, to be of use to the city and to be decorated at the expense thereof: at Madonna de’ Monti, in Campo Vaccino [the Roman Forum]. At Santo Apostolo. At the fountain at Trajan’s Column. In the little square opposite Paparoni’s at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. In Piazza dell'Altieri. In Piazza Montanara. At the doughnut maker’s corner opposite the Specchi Monastery. At the Springs in Piazza Mattei and in Piazza S. Marco each time the water destined for these fails to rise and make fountains to receive it in both these places”.
This list was a simple draft, because the actual locations and fountains would change. One such fountain, in the Piazza Altieri, was under construction, when the authorities decided three years later, the fountain was too big for the site, and ordered a little niche to be built in the side of a house for the public instead. The little niche fountain was located at Trajan’s column, and was built at the expense of a man named Mr. Gaspare della Molara. This fountain was in front of his home, and he supplied it with two ounces of water, of which he allowed the public to use free of charge, after he had, “undertaken to have made entirely at his own expense the waste pipe for the return of the said water from the fountain to the public drainage system, this pipe to be well made to the wish and judgment of Master Jacomo della Porta”.
At the Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, there was a fountain that was planned from the list of the City authorities. The houses to the right of the church at Santi Apostoli belonged to the powerful Colonna family. However the two fountains that were right outside the front door of the powerful family were purely coincidental, as there were fountains located close to other powerful and rich families throughout Rome.