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Thursday, February 18, 2010

On Location: Improving on the Turtle Fountain

"Even in a city of fountains such as Rome, this probably holds the palm for sheer delight; and what other country but Italy could have produced it?" The sentiments are those of Georgina Masson, whose Companion Guide to Rome is one our favored companions, and her subject the Fontana delle Tartarughe/Fountain of the Turtles, in the Jewish ghetto's Piazza Mattei. It owes its charm to age and quality; it was executed in 1581 from a design by Gioacomo della Porta, and the turtles--a lovely afterthought--are of more recent origin (1658), probably by the talented and ubiquitous Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Despite its charms, the fountain in its natural state was not lovely enough for the film company we observed in May of last year. It seems the Roman sun had dried it off, or up, and the filmmaker wanted it to glisten and shine.
So it was one guy's job to pretty much constantly toss water on the fountain (irony!!) so it would be at its best when the cameras started to roll. He's at work on the left of this photo. And that's how you improve on the sublime.


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