The power of cinema. The fountain in the movie “Summertime” was a temporary structure, but once it really existed and no expense was spared for its construction.
On the right is a mural depicting a fountain, and on the left is a fountain created for the movie “Summertime”.
At the end of the nineteenth century, those who strolled in Piazza Duomo, Termini Imereseone would notice fontanel located in the center of the plateau. It was built to beautify the space in front of the Palazzo di Citta and the Mother Church, but also had the function of refreshing and quenching the thirst of passers-by.
Built between the 16th and 17th centuries, unfortunately it was dismantled after two centuries. Only recently, on the occasion of the shooting of the film L’ora Legal by Ficarra and Picone, he came re-suggested “temporarily”albeit in a different style. The film of the popular comic duo was filmed almost entirely in the city of Terme in the summer of 2016, with the Piazza Duomo turned into an “outdoor set” as the film’s main setting.
As for the ancient fountain, very realistically, it should have been located in the center of the floor of the Duomo, in an area that in Roman times was used as the “city forum”. Historians claim that back in the 16th century, the floor was decorated with a fountain. This was first stated by the Jesuit priest Vincenzo Solito (1616-1674) in his work “Termini Imerese, the city of Sicily”, published in 1671, where he notes that the then rulers spared no expense, in fact: “in the 1500s The Palazzo di Citta was built at great expense in the middle of the square in front of it. good sourcethat poured out crystal clear waters from four bronze channels. Il Solito also provides other information about an inscription, now lost, that was found at the foot of a spring extolling the ancient glory of Himera and the healing waters of Thermae.
However, to date, the news reported by the scientist are of a general nature and are not supported by any conclusions, except six stone elements belonging to the pool, and a statue depicting the Madonna, which was supposed to dominate the structure. As for the first, the limestone elements are finely sculpted, four of them are in the shape of the letter “L” and two, with the same stucco work as the first, semicircular shape, are now located inside the villa near the square. Sant Antonio. The statue of the Madonna, considered the “source of life”, is now on the main facade of the Church of Consolation, located in the lower part of the city. From the inscription carved on the pedestal of the statue, it is clear where it came from and when it was placed on the facade of the church: it was September 13, 1888.
Suggestive iconographic information about the area and, therefore, about the fountain. some frescoes della Cammara Picta, located inside the town hall and built in 1610 by the Termite painter and architect Vincenzo La Barbera. In these paintings there are only twelve, the story of the ancient Himera and Thermae is told, also with signatures in Latin. Two of them, and in particular the one called “Pompeo stops Stenio” and the one where “Stenio confronts Verre’s greed”, feature a Mannerist fountain located right in the center of the floor of the cathedral.
To date, there is no certainty that the fountain depicted in the frescoes is the one that once characterized the plateau. In fact, for some researchers, the pictorial representation proposed by La Barbera is of a “theatrical type”, since it depicts a space surrounded by “fantastic” mannerist architecture: a palace, a circular monument and a fountain. The pictorial picture is completed by slender and hieratic characters gathered in a group at the fountain.
For more than two centuries, the square has been adorned by a fountain jet, but despite everything, there are no photographs or other documents that could provide useful information about the artefact’s style. The date when the decision to sell was made is unknown. It was September 26, 1888when, at the direction of the city council, a decision was made to dismantle it. In fact, Resolution No. 66 concerning the “Public Spring of Piano del Duomo” states: “After a request signed by 44 citizens, most of the members of the Casa di Compagnia del Piano del Duomo, whom they ask for the demolition of the public spring, the so-called “Garrafo” of the aforementioned plan, this spring is not recommended, either for the sake of art or for any benefit it brings to the public, which cannot draw water, since the aforementioned source turns out to be closed by the iron of the gate.
The Commissioner of Public Works refers to the aforementioned authority that supports her and makes one think that the said source can be transported to the floor of “Porta Girgenti” to be used as a public drinking bowl. The city council unanimously decides to accept the above request and instructs the council to order the demolition of the aforementioned Garraffo (…).” Also the subsequent council resolution on the same issue No. 67 dealt with the source of the Piazza Duomo, streamlining the procedures for closing “two running water streams belonging to the municipality”.
From that moment on, the fountain on the floor of the Duomo was almost completely “forgotten” also because the availability of free space for parking cars and free movement must have been a main reason, especially when the number of cars began to matter in the 70s and 80s years of the last century.
In recent decades no one thought to restore the fountain. Until the summer of 2016, the city of Termini Imerese, and in particular the floor of the Duomo, was chosen as the location for the filming of the film “Summertime” directed by Ficarra and Picone. On the day of the first take, Piazza Duomo di Termini Imerese, or rather Piazza Cavour di Pietrammare, the fictional name that filmmakers attributed to the city, appeared transformed: on the main facade of the Town Hall, the talented stage designer Sabrina Balestra placed a large clock (which also became popular thanks to the poster film), and in the center of the square “reappeared” a new spouting fountain. The structure, built by professionals from the local cinema sector, is designed in two fiberglass tanks expertly coated with cement mortar.
It was so realistic that an outsider would hardly have known that it was a “scenographic apparatus”! In one of the aquariums, the tail of a huge fish stuck out, and in the other, the body and head. A pedestrian crossing was left in the center, necessary to create a “central axis of traffic” between the Town Hall and a “kiosk”, the latter being “managed” by the film’s two friendly protagonists.
To find out the backstory of those days in Termini Imerese, we invite you to read the interesting “diary” of the attentive journalist and film critic Ornella Sgroy, who, on her pages of a book entitled: Imerese managed to skillfully tell countless funny anecdotes.
After the shooting, after a short period of time, the fountain “Ficarra and Picone” was dismantled, the material from which it was made could not last long, but the idea arose to “move the real” fountain to the center of the square. definitely like a lot of termites! Perhaps, with the new project of redevelopment of the area, it will be possible to revise it new fountain.