Fontana dei Libri
Fontana dei Libri
4.5
What people are saying
Mairwen1
By Mairwen1
Clean, Icy-Cold, Free Drinking Water
5.0 of 5 bubblesJun 2022
This is one of many traditional drinking fountains (fontanella) scattered around Rome. The water is clean and cold and perfectly safe for drinking. It’s icy cold because it’s piped into the city by a centuries-old aqueduct and comes straight from the hills outside the city. On hot days, we looked out for them and loved being able to re-fill our water bottles and splash our faces to cool down. This one is particularly ornate and dates back to 1927. Made of white travertine marble, it is carved into a niche against a wall with a curious design that includes giant books, a stag’s head and a cross. It’s only small but its loaded with symbolism. Two oversized books sit on each side of the niche, referencing the University della Sapienza which is around the corner (it’s now the State Archives). Water spouts are disguised as bookmarks. Five plain but distinct balls are the symbol of the famous Medici family of Florence who owned the nearby house Palazzo Madama (now the seat of the Senate). The stag’s head is a traditional emblem for the Sant Eustachio area. It has its origins in the story of Sant Eustace, a general in the emperor Trajan’s army, who was out hunting when an enormous white stag appeared in front of him. You might have expected him to take aim but instead he was overwhelmed by the radiant crucifix in between its antlers. A voice told him that he would be sent many tests and would suffer for his new faith. Eustace immediately converted to Christianity. Sadly, the voice was right and he was indeed tested. He lost his properties and wealth, he refused to make sacrifices to pagan gods and finally, along with his wife and two sons, he was martyred in 118AD. It was a particularly gruesome death and they were roasted alive. The symbol appears all around the St Eustachio area, on top of the local church and it’s also the logo for the very popular coffee shop, San’Eustachio Il Caffe. The ubiquitous letters ‘SQPR’ are carved across the top of the fountain. They stand for ‘Senatus Populus Que Romanus’ (the Senate and People of Rome) The other inscription ‘S. EVSTACCHIO - R IV’ forms the cross between the antlers. However it incorrectly identifies Sant Eustachio as being the fourth rione (district). It’s actually the 8th, which just goes to show that a typo is a lot easier to correct when it’s not carved in stone and you can just use liquid paper or a delete button.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles51 reviews
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dapper777
Monaco62,726 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Friends
The Fontana dei Libri is located in via degli Staderari, a name that recalls the ancient manufacturers of lever scales and libras once existing in this area.
This street was previously called "via della Università", in reference to the nearby 'University of Sapienza', while the ancient "via degli Staderari" was parallel to this and was suppressed when Palazzo Madama was enlarged.
The fountain is located within a niche crowned by a round arch and has a deer head (local symbol of St. Eustace district) between four ancient books, two on each side, and placed on two side shelves, in honor of the Sapienza University.
The cold and delicious water flows from two bookmark-shaped spouts placed on the upper tomes and from two others, placed laterally on the lower tomes, and collects in the semicircular tank below.
This composition, in travertine, was carried out in 1927 on a project by the architect Pietro Lombardi and is part of those fountains commissioned by the City of Rome who wanted to restore some symbols of ancient districts or of lost professions in various parts of the city.
A little curiosity: in the center of the fountain, between the horns of the deer, there is the name of the district, which is engraved vertically and the relative numerical reference which is engraved horizontally, but evidently there was an error because S. Eustachio's neighborhood is the "VIII" and not "IV" district as clearly engraved.
In summertime, you will see hundrends of Romans and also tourists stopping by and quenching their thirst every day.
Stop and drink.
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Spanish Steps Apartment
Rome, Italy32,182 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Couples
The Fontana dei Libri (Fountain of the Books) is located in between Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotonda (where the Pantheon is). The fountain is whimsical, featuring several giant books, said to be a reference to the University della Sapienza. In between the books is a deer's head, symbolizing the district (Sant’Eustachio) in which it is located. The fountain was built by Pietro Lombardi in 1927. You'll find other similar, wonderful little fountains throughout Rome, such as the Fountain of the Artists, the Fountain of the Amphorae, and the Fountain of the Tiaras.
Written January 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maggi713
Baltimore, MD12,307 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Friends
On our way to the Palazzo Madama, we passed this lovely fountain. The fountain was constructed in 1927 in travertine following the designs of Pietro Lombardi for the quarter of St. Eustachio, and it is for this reason that the district symbol of a deer's head appears in the niche surrounded by four antique books perhaps recalling the nearby Sapienza University. Inside the basin is written the name of the district with an incorrect numerical referral: IV instead of VIII.
Written August 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SuperTed19
Madison, WI742 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
It is easy to miss this little fountain, because it is close to larger attractions. Since you are likely to be in the area, it is worth a brief detour to stop here.
Written June 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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Fontana dei Libri - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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