The Porter Fountain- Information from Cavalier Marino

porter-fountain-thumbnail-large.jpg“Like the traditional frivolous confections eaten at Easter and other strange subjects, the little fountain known as The Porter in Via Lata is, one of the earliest controversies that writers who love Rome get involved in”, this quote was said about the Porter Fountain, a relatively insignificant fountain. In order to keep from passing along the same false stories about the fountain, we will focus on the most important ones.  We will conclude with our own opinion of the fountain, bearing in mind that these stories may or not be simple anecdotes. The earliest information regarding this fountain comes from Cavalier Marino, a celebrated Italian poet. In 1620, he created a rhyme about the fountain, giving us clues to the porters lively face, saying it had “pleasing eyelashes “….”so alive that you look like us”. The earliest illustrations of this garden fountain also confirm these facts. 

Theodor Sprenger, a German who wrote a guide to Rome, suggests that "Pasquino has two rivals; one is the Porter in Via Lata, the other is the one known as Marforio on the Capitoline Hill... [The Romans] use Pasquino to attack the nobles, Marforio the middle classes and the Porter the common people". The Via Lata is the Corso, dating back to an original plan in 1661 of all the buildings, which were incorporated into block housing, called the The Porter’s Island. So now we have two views of the fountain both from roughly the same time period.

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