Sculptures & Fountains Tour: Turtle Fountain

Location: Circular Terrace

Turtle Fountain is a copy of Fontana della Tartarughe which stands in a piazza not far from St. Peter’s in Rome.

The original fountain was designed by Jacapo della Porta and sculpted in 1585 by Taddeo Landini. It was designed to have four men sculpted in marble and holding dolphins; but it was decided that was too clumsy, so the figures were made in bronze with no dolphins. The rim was bare until 1658 when the famous Baroque sculptor Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini added the turtles to the upper basin, thus suggesting the new name.

George Booth was in Rome in February of 1924 and ordered a copy of the fountain for Cranbrook. The fountain arrived from Naples in 1924 in 18 crates weighing 10 tons and was installed within the year.

There are at least two other known copies of this fountain in the US, one on Nob Hill in San Francisco, California and one in the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida.