Monks and Knights walk on Aventino hill - Fountain

Mascherone fountain

The history of the “Mascherone” (mahs-kae-rou-na) fountain on the Aventino hill is that of a wandering and transforming piece of art: its actual position and composition is the last of many.

Its first position, in the 16th century, was among the ruins and remains of the ancient Roman Forum, a large valley at that time used as grazing for livestock, there it quenched the thirst of both the animals and the shepherd: composed as it was of a granite basin and a grotesque mask that hides the proper fountain.

In the early 19th century basin was then moved in front of the Quirinal palace (the Pope’s headquarter) while the mask found a new home by the riverbank, but because of the continuous flooding by the end of the century the city started building new levees and the mask with a new basin of roman origin was posed where you can find it now: in a niche engraved on the outer walls of the “Oranges garden” on the Aventino hill.

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