Milano fell in love with water in past times. Indeed, even if the city is not on the seaside, it boasts a centennial connection with the first element of life - while cars run along Ponte delle Milizie, the Naviglio Grande flows underneath and many rivers still breathe under concrete.
Since the world began, water supply quenches people’s thirst, supports communications and enriches the city’s landscape . Fountains represent refreshing stops during long walks or beautiful backdrops for photos. A typical example are the traditional green dragons “vedovelle” all around the city - diminutive towers with square shaped bases displaying the city’s coat of arms.
Find below a selection of fountains that decorate architectural assets of the city.
The Fountain of Piazza Castello
The fountain of Piazza Castello is an excellent set for kissing between lovers. Who knows how many marriage proposals were made among those sprays of water! Indeed there is no better place to kneel down, hand out a ring and - perhaps - say “yes”. The fountain is also known as “Turta di spus” (the wedding cake), because of its shape and the “fan-shaped” sprays at the top. Its position is magnificent - in front of the Sforza Castle - it greets the Filarete Tower and it makes the glimpse from via Dante even more fascinating. The fountain is made by weather resistant Vicenza stone.
The fountain was built by AEM - the past and present official energy Utility of the city - in the Thirties of the last century.
After it was removed for a first time because of the outbreak of World War II and for a second time because of work on the archeological site found beneath the Cairoli subway station in 1959, some people forgot about it. Later on, luckily, the fountain was put back in its place to refresh and illuminate this pretty corner of Milan which leads to the Castle and to the park behind it.
It was August the 15th 1782, when the famous architect Piermarini inaugurated what seems to have been the only fountain in the city for more than 150 years. The water reached the three tanks directly from the Seveso river with the help of a pump placed in Via Ore, in order to contrast the slope and help the flow get up to the surface. Two sirens sculpted in Carrara marble, each riding a dragon – known as Le Teodolinde - rise from the main basin, the largest, and sustain two additional basins.
This beautiful corner of Milan comes alive with students arriving from and going to the State University of Milan and with people on their way to the Duomo, who benefit from the monument’s beauty by just sitting on the green benches around it.
Fontana delle 4 Stagioni - Four Seasons Fountain - Citylife
Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer are represented by the four statues placed into the long basin of the fountain which dominates Citylife. It is composed of three communicating basins. The water flows through beautiful blue and red choreographies that reach up to eight metres .
The fountain, even if it dates back to 1928, is a perfect fit with Milan’s former trade fair centre which has been recently renovated, and still undergoing important developments.
Leaving the subway stations of Lotto or Buonarroti, the fountain goes almost unnoticed behind the big park of Citylife - popular among sportsmen who rush there early in the morning and families enjoying it in the afternoon. Once the monument is in sight, it is impossible not to remain impressed by its monumentality .
Piazza Gae Aulenti Fountain
Just under the Porta Nuova skyscrapers, the fountain was created by Argentinian architect César Pelli. It is set six meters higher than the street underneath, leading from from Porta Garibaldi to Corso Como. For this reason it is easy to admire Milan’s skyline from Gae Aulenti square: Bosco Verticale, Torre Galfa, the towers of the Garibaldi district and Palazzo Regione Lombardia. With water on the floor reflecting the sorrounding buildings, it is possible to admire beautiful choreographies.
Recently, as many tourists and citizens sometimes use the fountain as a remedy against hot weather, some no bathing signs have been placed all around the square. However, it is possible to cross the square walking across the fountain. At night it is possible to enjoy the romantic atmosphere thanks to all the light effects.
Fontana ai Marinai d’Italia - Italian Sailor's Fountain
It was the Associazione Marinai d’Italia (Italian Sailors’ Association) who wanted to create this compact and circular fountain in order to celebrate all sailors fallen during World War II. The former Prime Minister Aldo Moro was present during the grand opening. The sculpture at the centre represents a wave in a winged woman’s body seen at a distance, she seems to be crossed by a spray of water reaching for the sky.
The fountain is surrounded by Parco Formentano, well-known as Parco Marinai d’Italia, and it is close to the Palazzina Liberty, a location for cultural and recreational activities, dedicated to Dario Fo and his wife Franca Rame since October 2017.