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Camilla Verdacchi

And suddenly ... the fountain you don't expect

The Nymphaeum of Rain, at the Horti Farnesiani

Rome is inextricably linked to water: the Tiber, the aqueducts, the baths, the lakes, the proximity of the city to the sea, the ancient cisterns, the naumachias, the Cloaca Maxima, the thousands of fountains (there are more fountains than churches !), the noses (small drink-fountains in the streets), many little decorative fountains...

Sometimes, however, it can happen that you come across the fountain you don't expect.

We are on the Palatine Hill, the most important of the Seven Hills, the place where the city was founded.

Here centuries of history and construction have been stratified.
In the 16th century, the Farnese family built on the ruins of the Emperors palaces a residence immersed in a garden of delights, rich in rare exotic plants, as well as aviaries where one could admire gaudy peacocks and colorful parrots; ancient statues that were reused in that place, in a setting of surprising water games.

We are surrounded by the splendor of the Horti Farnesiani, on top of the Palatine Hill, a place from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Capitol City.

As we wander around the ruins of the Domus Tiberiana, making our way through bushes and centenary trees, suddenly - descending a flight of stairs - we meet a real surprise: the Nymphaeum of Rain.

The Nymphaeum of Rain

A cascade of pouring water, immersed in semi-darkness; a real ghostly apparition inside a largely forgotten place, unknown to most, almost erased by earthquakes, by centuries, by abandonment and - as if that wasn't enough - by the demolitions carried out by archaeologists who, between the nineteenth and the twentieth century, brought to light the ruins on which the Farnese gardens had been built.

Some of the structures still existing at the Horti Farnesiani
Glimpses of Renaissance elegance at the Horti Farnesiani

Among the few structures that survived the many adversities previously described, we can still admire the portal with the lilies, symbol of the Farnese family, the recently restored Nymphaeum of Mirrors, the Aviaries, the Teatro del Fontanone, as well as the main object of this article: the Nymphaeum of Rain.

It was a refuge in which the wealthy owners went to shelter from the summer heat; a dark, cool, shady triclinium, to protect themselves and their guests on the days when the "ardores solis", the flames of sun, proved all their power.


Imagine this place, so pleasant to see, scattered with statues and frescoes, in a cool, mild temperature.

A magical place, where even the ear could enjoy the sound of an artificial waterfall reproducing the sound of abundant rain, creating a subliminal effect inside the grotto, artificial itself, which, even in the middle of August , offered the sensation of stepping out of time and finding oneself in a dimension able to provide relief and serenity.

The magnificent fountain feeding the underlying Nymphaeum of Rain

The Nymphaeum is fed by the overlying Fontanone, a system of overlapping basins from which the water overflows, flowing into small waterfalls and then collects in an invisible channel that creates the rain effect in the artificial cave below.

A magnificent fountain, which still today triumphantly overlooks the Roman Forum from a terrace where, in the Farnese times, a number of hidden jets inside the floor created water tricks to cheer and surprise the lucky guests.

In 2018, thanks to a new technology in the field of lighting and projection, it was possible to faithfully reproduce the ancient decorations on the vault of the Nymphaeum, leaving visitors excited for a real journey through time.

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Some reviews of people that I have had the pleasure of guiding on my tours

Daniela L.
Daniela L.
The tour I wanted
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The tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill that I have wanted to do for a long time. Camilla was a perfect choice. Prepared, friendly, patient with my many questions. I will recommend her to my friends. Thanks Camilla!
Fabio T.
Fabio T.
The squares of Rome are very interesting
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My wife and I went on a tour of Rome's squares with Camilla. Although I was a little skeptical at first and took this tour by suggestion of my wife, I must say it turned out to be spectacular, and that Camilla was simply a fantastic guide.
Gianna B.
Gianna B.
Vatican exploration to remember
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I had always tried to imagine what was behind the Vatican doors. This tour finally introduced me to a reality that had intrigued me all my life.
Roberto R.
Roberto R.
Rome in a Day
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Without straining we were able to see in one day all the most famous glimpses of Rome, also recognizing many places seen in the great films of Italian cinema. A day that I would suggest to anyone who goes to Rome.
Cristina C.
Cristina C.
Forum and Palatine
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Luigi Z.
Luigi Z.
As a teacher I tell you: do it!
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All my life I taught History and Letters in high school, and I thought that a tour like the Colosseum could tell me little, and in fact I had organized it mostly for my wife and my daughter. Actually, this guide has been able to illuminate some aspects of the life of Roman citizens that were completely unknown to me. We never know enough about Rome.
Emma G.
Emma G.
The Sistine Chapel is an incredible emotion
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Before doing this tour of the Vatican I knew that the Sistine Chapel is one of the most important and famous works of art in the world, but I would never have imagined the emotion that entering that place caused me. There are no words to describe it. Thanks Camilla, for your expert and complete guide.
Mara K.
Mara K.
How nice the tour of the squares!
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When we think of the squares of Rome we always imagine the most famous ones, such as the Spanish Steps or Piazza Navona. But those who are not from Rome, like me, often do not even suspect how beautiful many other squares of this incredible city can be! I recommend you do this tour with Mrs. Verdacchi, you won't regret it!
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