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Fontana della Vergogna (Fontana Pretoria)

2,269 Reviews

Fontana della Vergogna (Fontana Pretoria)

2,269 Reviews
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Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily Italy
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Palermo Street Food Walking Tour
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Palermo Street Food Walking Tour

705 reviews
Skip the tourist traps and explore the streets of Palermo like a local foodie with this walking tour. In a small group, visit markets and food stalls to sample local local delicacies such as ‘arancine’ (stuffed rice balls) and ‘panelle’ (chickpea fritters) while your guide fills you in on local history and culture.
US$60.95 per adult
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Mairwen1 wrote a review Oct 2020
United Kingdom3,598 contributions2,618 helpful votes
The story of this fountain is just as interesting as the fountain itself. Originally made in 1554 as a wonderfully extravagant feature for a nobleman’s garden in Florence, it features racy sculptures of naked gods and goddesses, surrounded by numerous mermen, harpies, sirens and tritons. It ended up here in Palermo only because the nobleman died quite suddenly. Unfortunately, he also died having racked up a number of debts. Clearly he had extravagant tastes. Maybe the fountain was a case of champagne taste on a beer budget? After his death, his son sold the fountain off to the Senate of Palermo. Remarkably, it was cut up into 644 pieces and re-assembled here in Piazza Pretoria, right outside the windows of the Church and Convent of Santa Caterina. In hindsight this was probably a bit unfair to the 16th century nuns. They were aghast at the nudity and would often try to cover up the statues or dress them. It wasn’t just the nuns either. The Fountain was widely decried by the general population as being scandalous and immoral, earning it the very pleasing name, ‘Fountain of Shame’. I liked the fountain a lot. It was in fact one of my favourite things. Perhaps because I saw it on a bright blue sunny day when the white marble gleamed and the figures looked so full of vitality, movement and fun. The sculptures of gods and goddesses are the main attraction but the animals around the base of the fountain also caught my eye. If you circle around the ground level of the fountain, you’ll notice that there are different animal heads, each with a water spout from their mouth, circling the entire fountain. It’s interesting to think that this was made in the 1500s and the artist must never himself have seen most of these animals, like the elephant, rhino and crocodile. The fountain is ringed by a security fence but it was open when we were there. The gate was not immediately obvious and was around the side on the left. I couldn't see any information on opening hours so we considered ourselves very lucky. It is free to go in. One word of warning - don't sit on any part of the fountain or its walls. Guards are ready to swoop pretty quickly if you sit. NEARBY – we walked all over Palermo and found it a very easy city to walk around. From the fountain, we went around the corner to the next piazza to look at the 3 churches of Santa Caterina, Martorana and San Cataldo. In the other direction, it is only 2 minutes away from Quattro Canti.
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Date of experience: February 2020
8 Helpful votes
Ana L wrote a review Oct 2020
Navan, Ireland2,683 contributions1,026 helpful votes
This is a beautiful fountain, and if you are there at the right time of the day, it is very picturesque. Always crowded.
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Date of experience: August 2020
1 Helpful vote
Mike D wrote a review Sep 2020
Province of Naples, Italy112 contributions85 helpful votes
Our young daughter loved the animals around the fountain. She enjoyed it so much that we had to stop every time that we walked by. Even adults will enjoy the beautiful fountain and carved animals.
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Date of experience: August 2020
2 Helpful votes
Israel R wrote a review Jun 2020
Ra'anana, Israel16,033 contributions307 helpful votes
The amazing fountain was brought from Florence in 1581 after the original commissioner passed away and his son sold this amazing work of art to Palermo. Great variety of amazing statues and figures. The most famous ones are "The Naked Figures." Because of these statues, the fountain received the name of "The Fountain of Sin" Highly recommended for those who can visit the place twice. Once during the day and a second after sunset, the fountain and sculptures looks completely different with the wonderful lighting. Amazing work of art “NOT 2 B MISSED”
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Date of experience: July 2019
1 Helpful vote
Jazzumbo wrote a review Jun 2020
Campulung, Romania1,263 contributions1,312 helpful votes
I'm trying to figure out the reaction of the people of Palermo in 1581 when this amazing fountain, delivered from Florence, was completed and displayed to public. They were probably too shocked by the nudity of the statues if they called such beauty The Fountain of Shame. The story of the fountain is as interesting as the fountain itself. A must view while in Palermo. Unfortunately, some of the buildings around the fountain seem to be sadly neglected.
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Date of experience: June 2020
4 Helpful votes
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