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What to see in Italy: The Fountain of the Palm, monumental fountain in Palmi

2021-02-27 08:15

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What to see in Italy: The Fountain of the Palm, monumental fountain in Palmi

The Fountain of the Palm is a monumental fountain in Palmi, located in the centre of Piazza Giovanni Amendola.

What to see in Italy: La fontaine della Palm, monumental fountain in Palmi

The Fountain of the Palm is a monumental fountain in Palmi, located in the centre of Piazza Giovanni Amendola. The monument, realized in 1922 and reproduced in a stamp of the series "Fountains of Italy", takes its name from the ancient "fountain of the Palm" (also called "of the market") that stood, from 1670 to 1888, in the current Piazza I Maggio.

photo below:

 Fountain of the Palm in Piazza Amendola



  • The ancient Palm Fountain

    The ancient Fountain of the Palm, or 'del Mercato', was a monument commemorating many historical events for the town of Palmi. It stood in the centre of the current Piazza I Maggio.

    It was built in 1670 at the behest of Marquis Andrea Concublet, feudal lord of Palmi, to complete the construction of Piazza del Mercato in 1669. Following the earthquake of 1783, which totally destroyed the town, historians say that the fountain was the only artefact left unscathed, among all that had been built in Palmi until then. Moreover, the reconstruction of the city took place by redesigning it around the monument, since the majority of the population wanted to take it as a 'good omen' that the fountain had remained standing despite the fact that 'earthquakes made it sway like the mast of a stormy ship'.

    However, the ancient fountain was demolished in early May 1886, as a result of a project to improve Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi promoted by the municipal administration led by Pasquale Suriano.

     The monument was demolished at night, as it was feared to be obstructed by the citizens who, except for a few, were against the work of destroying the building.



The ancient fountain was six metres high and was formed by an octagonal base with four steps, on top of which stood (a few metres high) a large and also octagonal granite basin, with an elegant outline in the outer wall. In the middle of this basin, moreover, stood, more than three metres high, a heap of small fractured rocks, and on the top of it rose, for another two metres, a marble palm tree. From the top of the marble palm tree, at a height of almost half a metre, there was a perpetual and abundant jet of water. This jet of water, falling into a basin in the crown of the palm leaves, was channelled through special pipes into the mouths of four marble dolphins. Each of the dolphins was lying on one of the four sides of the pile of rocks, with its tail pointing upwards, touching the base of the palm tree, and its head pointing downwards. Half a metre below the head of the dolphin, a stack for each dolphin protruded horizontally from the pile of rocks; and it extended so far that the jet of water coming out of the mouth of the dolphin did not fall out of it, but was in any case so close to the bank of the aforesaid pool that the people could draw the running water right from the mouth of the dolphins. Each space between the dolphins was adorned with a coat of arms carved in marble. Initially, three of them bore the shield with the Concublet family insignia, while one bore the shield of Palmi, with the crown that the cities and lands under their dominion 'or regie' assumed, which was similar to the marquis's crown, and as an insignia the palm and the motto: 'Nondum in auge'.

What remains of the monumental work, reassembled, is located in the back of the Casa della Cultura "Leonida Repaci" and, in the same museum complex, there is a scale reproduction made by sculptor Nicola Gullì.

The new Palm Fountain

It was 15 October 1922 when the new monumental fountain, designed by the architect Jommi and built by Professor Giovanni Sutera, was handed over to the town of Palmi with an inaugural ceremony attended by the Fascist hierarch Michele Bianchi. The fountain was erected in the area where, until a few years earlier, the old mother church stood, demolished following the urban development planned after the earthquake of 1908. Architect Jommi designed the fountain in modern Bernini Baroque style, inspired by the ancient 'Fountain of the Market'.

The new monument also sealed the creation of the city's new aqueduct, the Vina Aqueduct, which was inaugurated on the same day and solved the city's water shortage problem. The festivities were rounded off by the renaming of the square after the Reggio politician Giuseppe De Nava, in response to a request from Palmi's mayor, Michele Guardata, who had done his utmost to secure government funding for the construction of the project.

The event was illustrated in hard copy in a single issue, with articles by Felice Battaglia, Domenico Antonio Cardone, Vincenzo Migliorini, Pietro Milone, Luigi Parpagliolo and Francesco Topa.

In 1977, Antonino Zappone from Palmese, an executive of the General State Superintendency, worked to have the fountain reproduced on a postage stamp and included in the series 'Fountains of Italy'. Therefore, on 18 October of the same year, the stamp, with a design by Eros Donnini, was printed by the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato with a circulation of 15,000,000 copies.

The fountain was restored in 1999 by the architect Carmelo Bagalà.


Photo below:

Dedicated stamp, issued in 1977
The Palm Fountain at sunset

Back to Palmi

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