The Fontana Maggiore, centrepiece of Piazza IV Novembre, is one of the main monuments in Perugia. Designed in the Gothic style by architect Frà Bevignate da Cingoli and hydraulic engineer Boninsegna Veneziano, it was built by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano between 1275 and 1278. The fountain was built to celebrate the arrival of water (via the newaqueduct) in the city acropolis.
Some 50 bas-reliefs and 24 statues, grace the two-tier polygonal basin; the water springs from a group of nymphs standing on a third upper basin. Four griffins were once positioned on the nymphs’ heads; but they are now exhibited in the Perugia’s Galleria Nazionale. The fountain’s decorations represent the months and the connected signs of the zodiac, the seven ‘Liberal Arts’, and scenes from the Old Testament and the founding of Rome, alongside representations of agricultural and feudal life.