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“Can't get close enough....” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Fontana della Vergogna (Fontana Pretoria)

Fontana della Vergogna (Fontana Pretoria)
Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily, Italy (Tribunali)
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Ranked #21 of 144 attractions in Palermo
Type: Fountains
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Take a peak at this "shameful" fountain, one of Palermo's revealing attractions.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Can't get close enough....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

In yet another graffiti ruined part of Palermo, this fountain I'd seen so many photos of was a bit of a disappointment. It's locked up behind an ugly fence and so the view you get from the base is different from all the glamorous shots taken from above. It's probably locked so the locals can't graffiti or litter as they obviously do everywhere else in this city

Visited October 2012
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140 reviews from our community

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English first
Palermo, Italy
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Modest Ladies”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

The naked ladies shield their modesty behind a rather ugly steel railing. The men let it all hang out

Visited May 2012
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Malahide, Ireland
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Weekend in Palermo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2012

Nice ornate fountain situated close to Quattro Canti and beside Chiesa di S.Chiara.

Visited May 2012
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Holmdel, New Jersey
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Pretty”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2012

Definitely a pretty fountain with unusual figures. Considered a shameful fountain when placed in 1575 because it is full of mythological and naked figures and yet placed right in the vicinity of the church. Worth seeing if you are within the vicinity

Visited May 2012
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Portland, Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Fontana Pretoria, Palermo; work of art.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2011

Fontana Pretoria was transported from Florence, and built in Palermo in about 1575. It's nick-name Fontana Vergogna, or Fountain of Shame, given soon after its opening, was derived from the ultra-conservative church people still reeling from the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition.

When the great German writer, Goethe, saw Fontana Pretoria in 1787, it had been in use for about 200 years. Goethe's diary should be quoted, " In a square of moderate size stands a circular stone construction a little less than one storey high, the socle, wall and cornice of which are coloured marble. Let into it all the way round are niches from which all sorts of animal heads, carved in white marble, look out, craning necks - horses, lions, camels, elephants in succession. Within this circular menagerie, one is rather surprised to see a fountain. Four flights of marble steps lead up to it from openings cut in the enclosing wall, allowing people to draw the copiously flowing water". Goethe, usually very precise, makes no reference to it as Fountain of Shame.

In my day-time visit, the fountain could be seen renovated and preserved with modern anti-pollution coatings. An ornate circular fence encloses the whole structure as no-one in the 21st century needs to climb the steps to fill their buckets with water. For a better view I climbed the steps of a nearby building, but the spectacle of this beautiful fountain, with its human figures and animal heads appeared lifeless, as there was no sound of water splashing and gurgling.

By the mellow evening light, Fontana Pretoria takes on a different grace. Being near Quattro Canti, just off Corso Vittorio Emanuel, and 3 minutes walk from Via Roma, it is an easy and safe place to walk by night as a solo traveller.

Fontana Pretoria remains another heritage worthy of study; for symbolism, art and life-giving utility in previous times. Where is the "shame"?.

Visited November 2010
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