The Fontana Bembo dominates what is now Cornarou Square, next to a Turkish charity fountain of later date. It was built between 1552 and 1554 by capetano Gianmatteo Bembo, the first person to succeed in conveying spring water to the town via an aqueduct.
The fountain is decorated with renaissance and gothic architectural features and coats of arms, such as that of Alvise Gritti, Duke of the time, and of his advisors Giovanni Tiepolo, Georgio Emo and Petro Marino. The spout bears vegetal decoration in relief. The marble basin where water collected must initially have been a Roman sarcophagus. The fountain also had a pediment, though unfortunately this was later removed. A large headless statue dating from Roman times was brought from Ierapetra to form the centrepiece.
The entire construction was originally immured into a storage cistern, which was removed in 1938 to make room for the square.
The impressive Fontana Bembo in Cornarou Square, (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)
The statue which still forms the centrepiece of the fountain, 2004 (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)
Acanthus motifs and a lion's head form the spout, 2004 (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)
Detail of relief decorations on the fountain, 2004 (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)
The Fontana Bembo after modification, 1900 - 1905 (G. Gerola, Vikelaia Municipal Library, Heraklion)
The Fontana Bembo with the Church of San Salvatore in the background