During the thirteenth century, the government of the Italian city of Bologna had the need to expand its physical facilities, building extensions to municipal buildings. During this time the “Palazzo Nuovo” and the “Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo” were built.
The “Palazzo Nuovo” has been the scene to some important events in its history. One of those events is that in the year 1249, King Enzo de Sardina was captured during the battle in “Fossalta” being sentenced to house arrest, making thew “Palazzo Nuovo” his residence and prison. King Enzo was imprisoned in this palace for 23 years, dying in the year 1272. This expalins the name of “Palazzo Re Enzo”. After this event, the palace returned to its municipal use. The structure has had various restorations, the most recent in 1905, which provided its Gothic appearance.
In front of the “Palazzo Re Enzo”, another municipal building was demolished to build the “Fontana del Nettuno” and its square, bordering the “Piazza Maggiore”. The fountain is built in the 16th century to commemorate the election of Giovanni Angelo Medici to become Pope, taking the name of Pius IV.
The central base of the fountain includes emblems of the pontiff at the feet of the cherubs. The bronze statue is of a Manerist style and has on the lower level four females placed in a nursing position; the water flows from their nurturing breasts.