MALTA AND THE “TRITONS FOUNTAIN” FASHION
The restoration of the wonderful “Tritons Fountain” in Valletta, Malta, has a very long and quite complex history:
In January 1953 the Maltese Ministry of Public Works announced a competition for the design of a large fountain to be placed in the large square at the entrance to the city, also used as the terminus for the island’s bus lines.
The jury declared the winner the sculptor Vincent Apap in collaboration with the designer Victor Anastasi who had presented the project of a fountain with the simple title “Tritons”. Apap created the plaster model of the work, while Anastasi had designed the travertine part and the hydraulic system of the fountain.
The foundations and the travertine base were completed in 1958. The fusion of the three tritons and the upper plate of the fountain were delivered by the Lagana foundry in Naples in 1959 and immediately assembled in the planned location and made to function with the jubilation of the population despite the political difficulties of those moments.
But an incorrect use of the monument, transformed on some occasions into a stage built above the upper plate, in 1978 caused the work to collapse, creating serious breakages in some parts.
The fountain was turned off and slowly forgotten.
In 1986 the technicians of the Malta Drydocks (Dry Dock of Malta) were called and they attempted to restart the fountain by roughly repairing it with the addition of a large central pillar to support the water dish since two arms of the tritons, which they supported it, they had been soldered badly. In 1987 the fountain was restarted but the water jets were poor, much less powerful and festive than the original ones.
At the end of the 1990s a further attempt was made to give some life back to the water jets and to restore the lighting of the fountain, but always with results far from those of 1959.
In 2017 the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Malta realized that the statues of mermen and the top plate left to their own devices were totally deteriorating. In that year, a tender was announced for the restoration of the entire monument in order to bring it back to its “former splendour”, won by the Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry of Florence.
The statue was dismantled, taken to the Ferdinando Marinelli Foundry near Florence, and in 2018 the Tritons Fountain in Valletta was truly able to return to its former glory!
The population was so enthusiastic about the result of the restoration of the work, that they organized fashion shows with clothes created by stylists with the drawings of the fountain itself, and jewelers modeled earrings and accessories related to it.