SIENA Permanent exposition Fonte Gaia under restoration Museum of Santa Maria della Scala
The Fonte Gaia, or the “fountain of joy”, as we could say in English, is a masterpiece of the XVth century, sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia; it is at last under restoration and this exposition is showing the techniques used and the sculptures restored.
One of the symbols of the city of Siena is coming back to life in the ancient hay lofts of the hospital Santa Maria della Scala. The Fonte Gaia is the beautiful fountain in Piazza del Campo: not many people know that what we see now in the middle of the square is not a fountain of the Renaissance, but a copy of the XIXth century by Tito Sarrocchi. The original fountain was designed and sculpted at the beginning of the XVth century by the most important senese artist of the time: Jacopo della Quercia.
The monument was soon damaged: in 1468 the head and arm of an angel were broken during a bulls race in the square; in the following centuries the fountain was very much spoiled: as we can understand, it was not considered as a decorative fountain, but it was at the centre of the city’s life; there many families went and take water for everyday needs; during the Palios the square was very crowded and some statues were damaged.
In the XIXth century the fountain was so spoiled that they decided to replace it with a copy. The remains of the ancient monument were forgotten an were abandoned in a loft until 1904, when they were put on display in Palazzo Pubblico’s court, almost on open air.
In 1989 the city of Siena and the Opificio delle piere dure of Florence started the difficult and complex restoration. The sculptures that have been restored are now in the museum of Santa Maria della Scala, where the long work of restoration is continuing. The exposition shows the techniques used and the story of the monument through photos and drawings too.
The hay lofts where the sculptures are hosted are beautiful and Jacopo della Quercia’s works are marvellous.
You can ask for an explication sheet in English.
article related: The Museum of Santa Maria della Scala
Fonte Gaia under restoration, Siena, Museum of Santa Maria della Scala Piazza Duomo 2, Tel. 0577-224811, Fax 0577-224829
Open Monday-Sunday 10,30 / 16,30