Fontana dell'Acqua Felice – Rome, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Fontana dell'Acqua Felice

A monumental fountain in Rome features a large statue of Moses that has been criticized for centuries.  


The Fontana dell’Acqua Felice or Fountain of Moses is a large monumental fountain in Rome, which marks the end of the Acqua Felice aqueduct.

Completed during the 1580s, the inauguration of this aqueduct was a historic event as it was the first new aqueduct constructed in Rome in many centuries. The name derives from the birth name of Pope Sixtus V, Felice Peretti, with the word “felice” also meaning “happy” or “lucky” in Italian.

To celebrate this event, a monumental fountain was constructed resembling a Roman triumphal arch. The fountain features a large inscription dedicated to Sixtus V at the top, while the bottom half is composed of three arches. The two lateral arches contain small statues, while the central one is dominated by a large statue of Moses. Here, the Pope who brought water to Rome with the new aqueduct is compared to the legendary biblical figure. 

The statue of Moses has been heavily criticized over time for many reasons. The proportions were deemed wrong, people questioned Moses’s appearance, and the size of the statue also came into question. 

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