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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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Palermo and Cefalù Day Trip from Taormina
Ranked #11 of 241 things to do in Palermo
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Take a peak at this "shameful" fountain, one of Palermo's revealing attractions.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 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
Thank wendy h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Palermo, Italy
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“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
Thank BreandanOB396
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malahide, Ireland
Level Contributor
122 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 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
Thank decdeasy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holmdel, New Jersey
Level Contributor
50 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
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
Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Australia
Level Contributor
67 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 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
1 Thank IanM31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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