It was 1613 when Pope Paolo V Borghese (1552-1621) commissioned the Swiss architect Carlo Maderno to raise a column on the square in front of the facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in order to create a support for the statue of the Virgin that would be placed on the top.
A column dating back to 74 d.C. (Vespasian Kingdom) was chosen, the only remaining among the eight of the Temple of Peace of the Roman Forum; called “of Peace”, it has an elegant porino marble (also called grechetto marble) shaft with Corinthian capital.
The transfer and refurbishment were performed just over one year with great satisfaction of the Pope who made gifts to all the workers of the company.
Maderno realized a tall travertine base, at the corners there are bronze eagles and dragons references to the coat of arms of the Borghese family, on the top is placed the statue, in bronze as well, of the Virgin and Child created by Parisian sculptor Guillaume Berthélot, very active in Rome in that period, and made from the Roman foundry of Orazio Censore.
A year later, in 1615, the same Maderno was responsible for the beautiful fountain close to the base of the column, fed by a branch of the Acquedotto Felice.
In the nineteenth century, probably for reasons of viability, the original look, impressive and spectacular, was modified and made more sober, but in spite of the elimination of significant details, the fountain preserves a balance and grace that make it a pleasant meeting place.
Metro Line A and B – Termini stop