Curiosities of Rome: 3 monuments with a particular history

At Corso Vittorio, you can see a FOUNTAIN WITH A LID (FONTANA CON COPERCHIO), nicknamed the ‘soup tureen’ (La zuppiera)! Originally, it was located at Campo de’ Fiori and didn’t have a lid. The lid was added by order of Pope Gregory XV because, on market days, the fountain was used by vendors to wash their goods (fruits, vegetables, fish).

Another curious monument is the FOUNTAIN WITH A CANNONBALL (FONTANA CON PALLA DI CANNONE) on Viale Trinità dei Monti. Legend has it that Christina of Sweden, bored with aimless walks around Castel Sant’Angelo, decided to go hunting in the woods but wanted to be accompanied. Do you think she sent a message or a messenger to inform her companion of her intentions? No. She fired a cannonball in the direction of Villa Medici to summon the then owner of the house, and that cannonball was later placed in the fountain in front of the residence. Note: there is still a dent on the bronze gate of the palace because, most likely, the cannonball hit the door.

In Piazza Vittorio, in the center of the garden within the square, you’ll find part of a structure erected by Marquis Palombara around the mid-1600s: the MAGIC DOOR (PORTA MAGICA), also known as the Alchemical Door. It is said that one day, a pilgrim arrived at Palombara’s villa and asked the marquis for some rest in his garden. The marquis accepted, but shortly after, the pilgrim began manipulating some herbs and then magically disappeared through the door, leaving behind a trail of gold dust and a sheet with very strange inscriptions. The marquis, unable to interpret the enigmatic message himself, decided to engrave it on the doors of his villa so that someone in the future might succeed in the daunting task of deciphering it.


Are you an English-speaking professional residing in Rome? List your services on to connect with clients in need of immediate assistance. You won’t have to wait for payment; clients will pay you right after your services are completed.

Reproduction or distribution of any material on this blog without authorization is strictly forbidden. ‘Sista’ is a registered trademark.

Share This Post

More To Explore