I was quite prepared to fall in love with Fontana delle Tartarughe, having read about it in the guide books, and I was not disappointed.
I think it helped that we made it our first port of call of the day and so we saw it fresh and without too many other people around. It’s a charming small fountain, tucked away down the backstreets in Piazza Mattei, in the area known as the Jewish Ghetto.
It was commissioned by the Mattei family in 1581 and was designed by Giacomo della Porta but sculpted under his direction by Taddeo Landini.
The tortoises which struggle over the rim of the bowl at the top, were only added a century later, and they make it all the more delightful. The current tortoises are copies as one was stolen and the three remaining were also replaced, with the originals now in the Capitoline museums.