Robba Fountain

Standing proudly in the heart of Ljubljana’s historic old town is Francesco Robba’s Fountain of the Three Rivers of Carniola. Also known as the Robba Fountain by locals, the sculpture inspired by Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain is considered the most famous and probably best late-Baroque sculpture in Slovenia.

The fountain features a central marble obelisk adorned with water nymphs, cherubs, and allegorical figures representing the three rivers of Carniola (the historical name for the northern region of what is now Slovenia): the Ljubljanica, Sava, and Krka. These rivers are embodied by gods, depicted pouring water from their jugs into a large basin below.

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Loading up on ornamentation, symbolism, and detail was the preferred look of the time. After all, Baroque art was all about horror vacui, a Latin term meaning “a fear of empty space.” Thus, nothing is accidental – even the water basin itself, when looked at from above, is meant to resemble a shell.

The fountain is a reminder of how important water is in Slovenia, which just so happens to be the only country in the world with the right to water for all citizens enshrined in its constitution. This is not only about drinking water, but it also includes access to rivers and lakes, which cannot be privatized.

Perhaps, it should be mentioned that the fountain you can see today at Mestni trg is not the original, but rather an excellent replica. The original is housed in the National Gallery, on the other side of the city center.

Sights along the way:

  • Križanke,
  • City Museum of Ljubljana,
  • National and University Library,
  • Šuštarski most,
  • ‘Faces’ of Locksmith Street

Directions to Robba Fountain

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