The Origins of Modern Outdoor Water Fountains

Hundreds of classic Greek documents were translated into Latin under the patronage of the scholarly Pope Nicholas V who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1397 to 1455. Continuing in his quest to make the city deserving of being called the seat of the Christian world, he decided to enhance the beauty of the city as well. Beginning in 1453, he called for the restoration of the Acqua Vergine, a decaying Roman click now aqueduct which had carried fresh drinking water into the city from eight miles away. Nicholas V also resurrected the Roman custom of installing grand fountains, known as mostras, to mark the end point of the aqueduct. The Trevi Fountain now occupies the area formerly filled with a wall fountain built by Leon Battista Albert, an architect commissioned by him. The aqueduct he had refurbished included changes and extensions which eventually enabled it to supply the necessary water to the Trevi Fountain as well as the renowned baroque fountains in the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Navona.

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