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Piazza Mattei · interesting places nearby
Fontana delle Tartarughe information
This playful, much-loved fountain features four boys gently hoisting tortoises up into a bowl of water. Created by Giacomo della Porta and Taddeo Landini in the late 16th century, it's the subject of a popular local legend, according to which it was created in a single night.
The story goes that the Duke of Mattei had it built to save his engagement and prove to his prospective father-in-law that despite gambling his fortune away he was still a good catch. And amazingly, it worked. The father was impressed and allowed Mattei to marry his daughter.
In reality, the fountain was no overnight sensation and took three years to craft (1581–1584). The tortoises, after whom it's named, were added by Bernini during a restoration in 1658.