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The Small Turtle Fountain is a great example of the late Italian Renaissance. It is decorated with four statues of Ephebe, or handsome, young boys, and around them are eight dolphins. The name of the work refers to small bronze turtles. They are probably Bernini's work and were added to the fountain in 1658.
There is a legend associated with the Turtle Fountain. Apparently, Prince Muzio Mattei lost all his belongings in one night. To regain the respect of the future wife's family (especially father-in-law), he bet that he would build a fountain in the square in front of the house during the night. The next morning she actually stood in the courtyard. Thus, the young man received permission to marry.
The fountain was really built between 1580 and 1588 by architect Giacomo della Porta and decorated with sculptures by Taddeo Landini. It was part of a larger project, thanks to which 18 new fountains were created in the city, supplying water from the ancient Roman aqueduct, Acqua Vergine.