Briefs

Fontana della Civetta of the Villa d’Este, Tivoli

The “Fontana della Civetta” or Fountain of the Owl is the work of Giovanni de Duca and is from the mid-16th century.  Unlike other fountains in the Villa d’Este, the “Fontana della Civetta” seems to be more formal as it is on a separate terrace bordered by walls with niches.

The Fontana della Civetta is crowned by the symbols of the d’Este family that are the white eagle and the “fleur de lis”. The d’Este family shield is found predominantly in the upper part of the “Fontana della Civetta”. Originally, this fountain was the first to produce sound and music similar to a birdsong. The music would stopped when the Owl appeared, mechanically, on stage. After many years of the inactive mechanism, it was restored in 2002. However, large parts of the original fountain sculpture have long disappeared.

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