Fountains are a regular meeting point in cities. They are identifiable and relaxing constructions that improve the look of a city and provide a breathing space for stressed-out city dwellers. Below we outline a number of fountains which appeal for different reasons.
In the immediate wake of San Francisco’s devastating 1906 earthquake, Lotta’s Fountain became an improvised meeting point for survivors. Today a plaque commemorates the role of this historic fountain built in 1875 and which is just one example of the way that fountains can become reference points in cities.
Fortunately, not all the reasons for gathering at fountains are as tragic as that of Lotta’s Fountain. In Spain, for example, they are regular backdrops to sports commemorations. The fans of football teams including FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid get together at Canaletes, Cibeles and Neptuno fountains respectively to celebrate their teams’ wins.
Summer sees New York’s Washington Square Fountain become a popular meeting point for people keen to cool down in the heart of Manhattan. Students from nearby New York University, tourists and local families gather around this large fountain to chat and shelter from the heat.
And talking about meeting points, few places in the world are as iconic as Pietro Bernini’s Fontana della Barcaccia in Piazza di Spagna at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome. This area has long been the centre of cultural life in the Italian capital and only confirms Romans’ enthusiasm for public water throughout history.
There is no question that fountains have been bringing wellbeing, tranquillity and relaxation to the inhabitants of major cities for centuries. Not only are they a nice place to wait for someone but there is something about flowing water that transmits contentment, emotions and a party spirit among people.