FOUNTAIN OF PIAZZA DANTE
The Fountain of San Giovanni Zoccoli, commonly referred to as the fountain of Piazza Dante. This fountain was most likely built in 1268, as evidence by the inscription on the cusp of the fountain. The inhabitants of the district independently decided to raise the money to build the fountain. The historian Scriattoli, refers to an archival document that states the construction of the fountain was decided in the year 1268. On the cusp of the fountain there are two inscriptions from different periods; Paola Piana Agostinetti has interpreted the oldest of these inscriptions. The inscription tells the date of execution of the fountain and even the first verses of the Gospel of St. John are carved in Gothic, ” In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum” and there is also an invocation to the Virgin:” Ave Maria Gratia Plena ” expressed by the second part of the inscription. The inscription refers to the saint in which the present church in the same square is dedicated. The second inscription occupies three sides of the spire at the top, it bears the date AD 1759 and within a frame Aquam hanc quo pv/rior uberiorq(ue) parochie/S.Io. Zoccoli com(m)oditati/ defleveret reservata sibi/eiusdem par(ochiae) concessu quar(ta)/ pate mutatis itineribus aliis/ scrobibus effossis novos/ fict gentili viterbiensis. Between the years 1626 and 1690 there were different periods of restorations. They resulted from a contribution, required by the district municipality of 50 scudi (currency of the time). In the year 1690, the restoration was entrusted to the nuns of the Church of S.Maria della Pace, in exchange for allowing the use of water. In 1731 (Reform vol. 137 1731, f. 121-122) the fountain was moved in the central part of the square by Ubaldino Penzoli and the conservatori del popolo at the request of the citizens to enlarge the passage on the road. In 1758, Innocenzo Gentili spoke with the Council about the pipes, in exchange for use of the fourth part of the water for his palace on Via Saffi. The episode is remembered in the inscription located on the sides of the spire looking towards Palace Pagliacci Sacchi.
The Fountain has a circular bath. The basis is formed by a step and by a recess that collects water runoff. The basin has a parapet made with rectangular panels which are decorated by an arch motif. At the center of the basin rises an element consisting of three parts, the lower one is a column partially submerged in water bounded above by a collar, the middle part is egg-shaped and decorated with four lion heads. The upper part is an octogonal pyramid, four of which have inscriptions. On top of the cusp an acroterion is placed, a shaped bud consisting of leaves bulging at the bottom and joined at the top. It is supported by a collar, decorated with lance-shaped leaves and defined at the top by a cornice.
FOUNTAIN OF PIAZZA DANTE. Traduzione di Amanda Santini, California State University, Stanislaus. Programma USAC presso Università degli Studi della Tuscia.
AA.VV. Il centro Storico di Viterbo, Betagamma, Viterbo, 2001, p. 206.
B. Corradini, le fontane di Viterbo, centro internazionale La sponda Roma, 1998
Agostinetti, Fontane a Viterbo. Roma, 1985, p. 44