This is a nymphaeum that probably dates to very early in the 18th C. It’s right up against the foot of the Capitoline hill, just down from the staircase that ascends to the piazza that dominates the top of the hill at present.
Anciently, the Capitoline was a very important place in Rome. The first fortress was here, along with the first temples. Long story short, Mousse-oh-lee-nee chopped the north end off a hill that had already been greatly altered over the years, including the addition of a church in Medieval times and the 16th-C alterations of palazzos that now are part of the Capitoline Museums around the Piazza del Campidoglio, all designed by Michelangelo. This construction changed the ascent to the main hilltop from the east and the Forum to the west and the city. The climb from the Forum to the Capitoline summit was the last, and arguably the most important, part of the route of Triumphal processions that Republican and Imperial generals lead through the city, ending at a temple on the Capitoline where sacrifices were made.
Nymphaeums were first sacred springs where nymphs were believed to reside. Nymphs were likely part of the pantheon of pre-Roman peoples of the northern Italian Peninsula—and probably beyond. Eventually, springs were created in the form of fountains to evoke such sacred places (the water alternative to sacred groves). The name continued to be used for a contemplative location (garden) with flowing water, so that owners of a villa had one built in the back of their garden in the early 18th C, below ruins on the face of the Capitoline. Note how the vertical support in the arch above was there in the 18th C (drawing). Also, note the row of buildings (residences?) along the rim of the hillside, where there is now an overlook.
One other thing, apparently although the destruction in the 1920s didn’t remove the wall of the nymphaeum, the water supply was cut. In, get this, 2011, it was restored and a plaque installed noting this proud fact. And a mere three years later, it now looks like it’s been a barely functional oozing fountain for a half-century….
We splurged on a taxi to our overnight down at the airport that we hope will make an early arrival at the airport tomorrow easy (well, easier). The taxi was a Peugeot, oooh-lah-lah.
And we’re seeing a slushy, romantic, Julia Roberts promotion of Calzedonia, a big Italian company (clothing at least) play over and over on the TV (haven’t had TV for a while). Big Euro-bucks to the former Georgian, I’m sure.
WEATHER REPORT: Storms in NW Italy and SE France have sent mud and sludge into many towns, including Vernazza, which has been evacuated. No rain here, and overcast even has been spotty. Our trip planner (me) sure miscalculated the temperatures we’d experience during this trip; it’s been sweaty-hot much of the time, with pleasant cool evenings, mostly; however, we’ve been lucky with the rain, only a morning or so during our first stint in Rome….