When I walked aimlessly along Via Dell’ Iindependenza from the Bologna Centrale (after I got myself lost in Firenze), I saw this beautiful steps with a fountain that leads to a park. I did not know what park it was because I just went where my feet took me. Only after I went home, I learned about the name of the park: Montagnola Park or Parco della Montagnola. The fountain is called Fontana del Pincio.
The fountain depicts a nymph on the back of a sea horse, both struggling against the embrace of an octopus in a big seashell. These elements are positioned in a lunette (semi-circle shaped space) with floral motifs. On the centre of the lunette, there is a mascaroni, or decorative keystone of a lion holding two shields that merged into one, which is actually Bologna’s state emblem. The lion’s head depicts a lion donated by Marquis Obizzo d’Este to the commune in 1293.
Looking at the sea nymph and the seashell, it reminded me of Boticelli’s painting ‘Birth of Venus’, you know the one standing on a seashell with no clothes on just her hair covering her private part. The elements of nymph, horse, seashell were among mythical elements commonly used during Early Florentine Renaissance period.
The fountain was sculpted by Diego Sarti and Pietro Veronesi in 1896, both were masters graduated from Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna. They also sculpted two bas-reliefs on both sides of the sculpture dedicated to the University of Bologna (Colombarini) and the free city (Sabbioni). The impressive staircase access to Montagnola Park was designed by Tito Azzolini and Attilio Muggia in 1892. The steps of the Pincio is equipped with 72 metal candelabra with six or four lamps.
Me standing at Parco Della Montagnola. Self-portrait, Nikon D40X with the help of a tripod and wireless remote control. Bologna, Marzo 2010