Fontana Pretoria

The fountain was created for the garden of don Luigi de Toledo in Florence. Previously the land of the garden had belonged to the nuns of San Domenico al Maglio and was obtained, after a lot of pressure, in 1551. Subsequently, in 1584, the Palazzo di San Clemente was built on this site. The creation of this unusual garden (devoid of palaces) and of the fountain was commissioned to the Florentine sculptor Francesco Camilliani, student of Baccio Bandinelli.

The work was started in 1554. The fountain included 48 statues and was surrounded by a long arbor formed by 90 columns of wood designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati. Giorgio Vasari called the fountain: «fonte stupendissima che non ha pari in Fiorenza nè forse in Italia» («wonderful-est fountain, that is unparalleled in Florence and maybe in all Italy»).

In 1573 the indebted Luigi de Toledo (brother of the former Viceroy of Sicily García de Toledo), on the verge of moving to Naples, sold the fountain to the city of Palermo. In fact, the Senate of Palermo decided to buy the building e to place it in the square in front of the Palazzo Pretorio.

On 26 May 1574 the fountain arrived in Palermo. In order to transport it, the fountain was disassembled in 644 pieces. Then, in order to make room for the fountain, several buildings were demolished. However, the fountain arrived incompleted in Palermo. Some sculptures were damaged during the transport, others were maybe kept by Luigi de Toledo (probably the statues of two Divinities prese