Del Bufalo Fountains at Capo Le Case: Solutions from the Archive

For decades scholars have known that in 1596 Ottavio del Bufalo received an allotment of water from the Acqua Vergine for his “Casa del Giardino” at Capo le Case on condition that he provide a fountain for the public at a place of his choosing. They have imagined that it was somewhere on the street and featured a sculpture of a sleeping nymph. Documents and unpublished drawings instead indicate that the fountain was a pair of laundry tubs located behind Ottavio’s stable and rimessa. Another fountain at the “Casa del Giardino,” now destroyed but known through an engraving and a 19th-c. photo, has long seemed at odds stylistically with its setting, the façade of a garden casino painted by Polidoro and Maturino around 1525; new documents suggest that it replaced an earlier free-standing fountain in 1647-48, but its designer remains unknown. Both fountains can be understood in the context of the motivations of Ottavio and Paolo del Bufalo, in 1596 and 1647 respectively.

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