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Tritons’ Fountain, City Gate

Protecting the most significant buildings, monuments and features of Valletta and Floriana (113)

The Tritons’ Fountain is a singular monument of its type in Malta specifically conceived to grand proportions. It was artistically designed by 20th century Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap and architecturally and technically devised by Victor Anastasi, a skilled draughtsman.

Its inspiration is clearly derived from Fontana delle Naidi in Rome’s Piazza della Republica. The design was awarded first prize in a specific competition judged by notable specialists and experts in 1953.

What was carefully designed above ground was likewise designed to be maintained from below, through complex subterranean tunnels. Work on its foundations commenced in June 1955 and was undertaken by contractor Carmelo Grech as per approved plans in 1953. The spatial void under the basin was devised to give a graceful feeling to the top heavy nature of the design. The strength of the three mythological tritons is easily interpreted while creating a dynamic spiral movement beneath the heavy basin. The water jets are intended to create a high cone giving sheer monumentality to the fountain as a whole.

The fountain was tended by engineer Carmelo Farmillo from 1959 till 1978 until it was damaged on March 1, 1978. In 1987 a sculptural insertion was installed occupying the void underneath the basin to act as a structural support.

Mepa scheduled the Tritons’ Fountain as a Grade 1 national monument as per Government Notice number 522/12 in the Government Gazette dated May 8.

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