Carlo Fontana

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Carlo Fontana (1634 or 1638 - 1714) was an Italian architect, who was in part responsible for the classicizing direction taken by Late Baroque Roman architecture.


There seems to be no proof that he belonged to the family of famous architects of the same name, which included Domenico Fontana. Born in Brusato, near Como (now part of the town of Novazzano in Canton Ticino, Switzerland), Fontana went to Rome before 1655. He became a draghtsman for the architectural plans of Pietro da Cortona, Carlo Rainaldi, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini employed him for nearly a decade in diverse projects.

His first independent project may be the church of San Biagio in Campitelli, completed by 1665. His façade at San Marcello al Corso (1682-3) is described as one of his most successful works. For his patron, Innocent XII, he erected the immense building of the Istituto Apostolico San Michele at Ripa Grande, organized around its church; the baptismal chapel at St. Peter's; and slightly modified and finished Palazzo Montecitorio, which had been begun as Bernini's Palazzo Ludovisi, for Niccolò Ludovisi during the reign of the Ludovisi pope Gregory XV, and which he publicized by a Discorso (1694).

At the request of Clement XI he built the public granaries (Olearie Papale) within the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian (currently used for temporary exhibitions), the portico of Santa Maria in Trastevere, and the basin of the fountain of San Pietro in Montorio. He designed the Casanate...
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