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Cover photo by Enzo Traversi
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The Fontana Angelica is located in central Piazza Solferino. It was commissioned by Minister Pietro Bajnotti to honor his parents, particularly his mother, Angelica Cugiani, after whom the fountain is named. In his will, he left 150,000 lire for the fountain’s construction within 30 months of his death, with the original plan to place it in front of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista.

In 1922, the project was assigned to Giovanni Riva, a relatively unknown sculptor, and instead of the planned 30 months, construction took seven years. The fountain was inaugurated in 1929.

As mentioned, the installation was initially intended for the Cathedral, but it was later moved to Piazza Solferino. Following this relocation, Riva spent considerable time adjusting the positions of the statues and their gazes.

The exact reason for the relocation remains unclear. One hypothesis is that the city of Turin insisted on moving it, having combined the initial bequest with an additional 550,000 lire to complete the work.

The Fontana Angelica
Fontana Angeica

A second theory suggests that the curia did not want the fountain in front of the Cathedral due to its hidden and un-Christian symbolism. The fountain is indeed famous for its mysterious aspects, especially in its four statues.

Four season

The Fontana Angelica consist of a large central basin surrounded by four statues and a smaller secondary basin at the back. Each statue represents a season (the fountain is also known as the Fountain of the Four Seasons) and holds symbolism related to esoteric and occult themes.

La Primavera (Spring)

When viewed from the front, it is the left statue. It depicts a young woman holding a nest of little birds in her hands. The child next to her releases swallows into flight. The statue represents virtue and Knowledge, understood as that which is accessible to all.

The Fontana Angelica
La Primavera (Spring)

L’Estate (Summer)

The statue on the right when viewed from the front. Depicting an older woman compared to Spring, she holds fruits and ears of wheat in her lap. The child next to her also carries fruits. Although these symbols are all related to the material world, their meaning is deeper and more complex. The statue represents vice and Knowledge, understood as profound wisdom accessible only to initiates.

The fruits in the statue—bunches of grapes and pomegranates—hold symbolic significance dear to Freemasonry: brotherhood. They represent various individuals united, grouped together like grape clusters or grains.

Fontana Angelica
L’Estate (Summer)

However, there’s a significant difference between grapes and pomegranates, both in nature and symbolism. The knowledge represented by grapes is accessible to all, while that of the pomegranate is reserved for those who have learned to penetrate deeply beyond the outer peel.

L’Autunno (Autumn)

Moving to the back of the fountain, Autumn is the statue on the right. The statue faces west, toward the dark area of Turin, with its main point located in Piazza Statuto. It almost seems to be indicating the right direction for us to follow. At its feet, there are pine cones, once again symbolizing Knowledge. Considering the characteristic shape of the pine cone, similar to what was mentioned for the pomegranate, it evokes deep Knowledge accessible only to initiates.

L’Autunno (Autumn)

L’Inverno (Winter)

Represented by the left statue (when viewed from the back of the fountain). This is the only statue facing east, toward Piazza Castello and the white area of Turin. Winter likely embodies the strongest and most intriguing allegory of all.

Firstly, there appears to be an explicit reference to Turin’s Masonic symbolism, but it goes beyond that. It’s worth noting that Italian Freemasonry is part of the Grand Orient.

Now let’s examine the sculpture in detail. At the base of the statue, two children are depicted. The lower one offers a fish to the other, whose hairstyle and sun-like form suggest pagan worship. Meanwhile, the Christian symbol of the fish, donated by a figure positioned lower down, implies a religion subservient to something higher and elevated. The lamb, both a pagan and religious symbol, represents a connection between these two beliefs.

L’Inverno (Winter)

The Fontana Angelica and and its hidden meanings

Further analyzing the fountain, we can find another significant element represented by the two male statues. They are believed to depict Jachin and Boaz, the two giants guarding the Pillars of Hercules, which mark the boundary of the world.

Simultaneously, they symbolize the columns of Solomon’s Temple. These twin columns appear in all Masonic lodges, representing stability and strength.

Additionally, the two statues, or rather the two giants, continuously pour water from their pitchers, symbolizing the transmission of Wisdom. Upon closer inspection, between the male statues, a rectangle of light forms. This indicates a gateway to another spiritual dimension, accessible only to initiates.

Fontana Angelica
Medusa

Finally, let’s take a look at the small basin behind the fountain. Various masks are depicted, spouting water into the rear of the fountain. While they may appear identical, a closer look reveals that one of them represents Medusa. It is identifiable at the center, with snakes in place of hair. Remember that Medusa was the guardian of the Underworld. Here, she assumes the role of a judge, allowing entry through the passage only to the deserving. As mentioned earlier: reserved entrance.

In summary, this fountain warrants careful observation of its details and mysteries

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