Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 13, 2014

Seven heads are better than one

There is a tabernacle at the end of the street where the Florence Central Markets are…the Tabernacle of Fonticine…named for the little fountain at the bottom.


Tabernacles are niches with sculptures, often with frescoes or columns and a small roof. They are found on street corners, or on the side of a square, or even in tiny, narrow streets.  They are usually covered by glass. Florentines felt the need to put up holy images  to protect their houses and their families. There are about 1,200 in Florence.

I can’t show you the rest of the tabernacle as it was covered in scaffolding, but it think the fountain is lovely. It is attributed to Girolamo della Robbia and constructed somewhere around 1522, which explains why it could do with a bit of Jif and a scrubbing brush.




It is good to see it still in use after all these years.




I hope to see the whole tabarnacle on a future trip to Florence. I am inspired to track down the rest, perhaps not all 1,200, but quite a few.


  1. Such wonderful historical gems to be found in Florence, Debra. Great pics, but I wanted to get my toothbrush out and clean those teeth. 😀

  2. Great post!

  3. Last year, two young men gave their dog a bath in the “tabernacolo”… It looks as if it was not the first time that something like this happened

  4. What a wonderful post, we’ll definitely be looking out for that in Florence in the summer. Italy is so rich in history, for all of us to enjoy.

    • It would be fun to try to track down all of the tabernacles in Florence…it might take a while.

  5. Isn’t that interesting, Deb! I always thought a tabernacle was a place of worship – probably because the only time I’ve heard the word is in the context of “tabernacle choir”. Thanks for the enlightenment! 🙂

    • I had not heard of the word used in this context either. These are really an outdoor place of worship.

  6. Thank you so much for featuring this tabernacle. Tabernacles and torre are on my list of things to track down in Florence next year. My map is getting full of colour coded dots!

    • The tabernacles alone would keep you busy for ages.

  7. I’m tempted to get an old toothbrush and soda or whatever, and scrub away!!

    • It could certainly do with a scrub.

  8. Thank you very much for this interesting post. It there “aqua potabile” – good for drinking like in many places in Italy?

    • There are lots of fountains in Italy where you can get excellent drinking water. I don’t know why people buy so much bottled water here.

      • I gues people just don’t know that there is indeed very good drinking water in many places in Italy. Maybe such places should be marked better. I remember drinking an excellent water at Piazza di Signioria in Florence. There they have 2 kinds of water to choose from. I was also drinking very good water in many places in Rome.
        Maybe you can write a post about finding drinkible water in Italy. I would make a very good subject for a blog post.

      • Italians should know, they have been used for centuries. I suppose it seems more convenient to buy water at the supermarket, but it such a waste of money and resources. I think it is a good idea to point out water fountains, perhaps on my next trip.

  9. The real Florence…timeless… and you’ve captured it beautifully. Looking forward to the next tabernacle in the series.

    • I had not really thought about tabernacles until I tried to find out more about the fountain, the only part showing under the scaffolding. Now I want to find more.

  10. Definitely could use a good scrubbing to remove the regurgitation look.

    • It may never come clean, it is very old.

      • … and that’s what old does.

  11. Hmm I don’t really remember seeing these whilst in Florence, must walked straight past and not noted it!

    • I have never noticed it before either and I have been in the street many times.

  12. How interesting and the cleaner in me wants to have a go at them and scrub them clean! 😛

  13. Gorgeous, even if they are indeed indeed need of a scrubbing 🙂

    • A scrubbing brush could be put to good use here.

  14. […] This is what it used to look like. Seven heads are better than one […]

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