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The 99 Spouts

The music of the stars

Although the founding of the city of L’Aquila was attributed to Conrad IV in 1254, the first studies on the possibility of constructing a city in this part of Abruzzo seem to have been made by his uncle Frederick II, a great expert of esoteric sciences and astrology, who built the town of Vittoria (opposite Parma) according to the configuration of the constellation of Mars.
L’Aquila was built according to the plan of Jerusalem and the principal monuments redesign and trace the position of the star of Altair. Indeed, some of the key monuments of the two cities even appear to be in the same position.

The ‘Fontana delle 99 cannelle(The Fountain of the 99 Spouts) corresponds with the biblical Pool of Siloam, while the Basilica of Collemaggio corresponds with Solomon’s Temple. On comparing the ancient plan of Jerusalem with that of L’Aquila, the historian Crispomonti noticed the incredible similarity of the walls of L’Aquila with those of the Holy City. Indeed, on carefully observation of the two plans, one will note various details that punctually appear to coincide, even when the position of the plans are reversed. The river Cedron runs in the valley of the same name, as does the river Aterno in Aquila; the Pool of the Siloe monument, is in precisely the same position as the 99 Spouts, both of which are situated next to the city walls. To the north there is the mountain of the Temple, which in L’Aquila corresponds to the Basilica of Collemaggio. Other similarities have led to the endorsement of the hypothesis that the two cities are a perfect mirror image of each other. Both cities are built in the hills: L’Aquila at an altitude of 721 metres and Jerusalem only slightly higher, at approximately 740 metres. With respect to Jerusalem, the cardinal points of the plan of L’Aquila have been reversed, meaning the north corresponds to the south, and when the two maps are overlapped, one discovers that the two fortified walls substantially coincide. Indeed, Santa Giusta, the first church to be built there, is situated in the same position as the planes of Solomon’s Temple, and the Basilica of Collemaggio is situated to the south-east, outside the city walls. Exactly in the same position (to the north-east, beyond the little valley which echoes the valleys of Giosafat and Gethsemane), the church rises in a similar position to that of the Mount of Olives, the place where Our Lord received his teachings and also of his Ascension. Just like the Cistercian monks, the King, was convinced that they needed to find a new ‘vital centre’, shifting the epicentre of Christianity.

This was the plan of Frederick II on his return from retaking Jerusalem: to found a new European spiritual capital in opposition to the then loathed Rome.
Indeed there are many clues, starting from the highly spiritual ideals of Staufen, passing on to the intense relations between the Orient, the Cistercian fathers and the Order of the Teutonic Knights, and, again, due to Frederick II’s great interest in science and astronomy.
In 1229, Frederick II conquered Jerusalem once more, without war or bloodshed, thanks to his strong friendship with Al-Kamil, the Sultan of Damascus - a long and secret correspondence and exchange of lavish gifts had been going on between them for some time. The result was that Frederick II gained possession of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, an incredible success for the time.

But instead, when he returned to Italy, a venomous and instrumental war awaited him, because the Pope had spread the rumour that he was dead. So much so, that when the King returned on 10 June in 1229, the people of Brindisi were dumbfounded. After months of civil and military war due to the conviction that he was dead, his followers regained their courage. The seat of his enemies was Montecassino, a Benedictine centre, but Frederick II did not give up, punishing the traitors without mercy. The ruler of Celano and all of his accomplices were killed. In many towns and cities there was popular revolt. In faithful Sulmona a war broke out that culminated in the town being set ablaze. In Rome, the people revolted against the Pope, who was forced to flee to Umbria. But there was also another grave, often overlooked event that occurred in the winter of 1229 to 1230, when Rome was flooded by the Tiber River, which covered the entire city in mud, causing the death of over five-thousand people. And just like the earthquake that has devastated the Abruzzo region, this cataclysm brought the city of Rome to its knees for a very long time.

Due to its geographical position, Abruzzo had long been the crossroads of many religious, economic and political movements, and the pressure to create a new city that could meet this need was very strong. It fast became an important commercial centre due to its sheep farming trade and the high quality of its saffron, which was appreciated in courts all over Europe. And it is in this context of economic development that the city was conceived. Hence, it is around 1230 that an honest philology ascribes the birth of L’Aquila to Frederick II, a far-sighted monarch and able strategist, who chose this place (considered ideal from both a commercial and defence perspective) to found the city and proceeded with the strategic fortification in order to protect the villages scattered across the territory. The castles were situated with only a day’s walk between them, ensuring the rapid exchange of information and reciprocal aid in the event of revolts or attacks by the Pope, his eternal, bitter and treacherous enemy.

Between 1230 and 1254, despite the open war, which was followed by a ceasefire, then war again; with Rome immersed in silt; the hostility of the Cassinese, and Jerusalem lost once more, the Swabian king attempted to provide the maximum economic input and support for the construction of this new city in the Aterno valley with the spiritual alliance of great reclaimers and builders, such as the Cistercians. But death took him unexpectedly, stopping him from completing this ambitious project.
It was his nephew Conrad who passed the decree to found the city in 1254, but the decisively esoteric-cut of the project was undoubtedly by the hand of Pietro da Morrone, the future Celestine V, after Manfred razed it to the ground, due to the widely-known disagreements between the heirs of Frederick over the Neapolitan throne, due to the conflicts between the Church and the Empire. It was only seven years later that Charles I authorised its reconstruction.

Indeed, even though L’Aquila, planned and desired by Frederick II and the Cistercian spiritual fathers, dates back to 1230, the start of its new ‘spiritual life’ was actually ’12-66’, which is incidentally the ‘symbolic number’ of Jerusalem and yet another strange ‘numerological’ coincidence. The Celestinian order, who responded to Pietro da Morrone, were the promoters of two of the most symbolic and esoteric monuments in the city: the Fountain of the 99 Spouts’, the construction of which began in ‘12-72’, and the Basilica of Collemaggio, which began just two years later in 1275 and was completed in ‘12-88’.

Michele Proclamato has investigated these numerical connections, illustrating how the number ‘72’ can be found not only in nature but also in many other laws:

72 conspirators plotted against Osiris.
God has 72 names.
Angkor in Cambodia has 72 temples.
Jesus had 72 apostles at the time of his death.
In Hebrew tradition there are 72 angels.
72 were the number of coins paid to become a follower of the secret Chinese Triad.
72 is the dominant number at Chartres Cathedral.
The Templar Knights had to obey 72 rules.

The fountain was reproduced according to a drawing by Tancredi da Pentima and on order of the reigning governor, Lucchesino da Firenze. Its construction commemorates the founding of L’Aquila and the 99 castles of the kingdom.

The oldest part of the fountain is composed of the pool at the base and another to the left, embellished with 40 and 23 large masks respectively (they are all different and according to tradition they represent the squires of the castles) that correspond to an equal amount of spouts.

The 36 spouts on the right (three of which have no masks) and the wall around the monument in white and pink stone were added later, when the legend of the number ‘99’ was consolidated.
It is said that beneath an unidentified bridge of the pavement, lie the remains of the architect Tancredi, punished for refusing to reveal the source of the fountain’s waters, in order to evade the demands of the lords of the castles. 

The fountain is situated in front of the small Romanesque Saint Vito Church, in the Riviera district, the lowest and richest area for water in the city, just a few metres away from the railway station.

The circumstances and the reasons for its construction are recorded in a Latin inscription on the memorial tablet on the face of the monument
“The new city rejoices for the waters of the old river and a new source. If you appreciate this distinguished work praise it in its every aspect, but do not be surprised by the work, but rather admire its patrons whose labour and honesty make them citizens of L’Aquila.” The year of the Lord 1272

In reality, there are actually only 93 spouts with different faces; the last six are merely spouts without faces.

It is from the observations and studies of the first monument that embellished L’Aquila in 1272 and the Basilica of Collemaggio that all of L’Aquila’s secrets and history take form. In a stimulating essay,

Proclamato quite rightly reveals a number of uncanny coincidences. In official history, Pietro da Morrone is represented as a humble hermit, despite the fact he was known in every reigning court of Europe and had direct and continual contact with the Order of the Templar, having followed the realisation of both buildings.
The mountain reproduces the ‘99’ sequence, whereas the Church appears to be based entirely on the number ‘8, not only in stone, but also in the deeds.
Indeed, Pietro was blessed and inaugurated the Basilica in the presence of EIGHT bishops – a rather unusual event – twelve years before its completion in ’12-88’. Furthermore, in order to underline the importance that he gave to this number, in the deed of its construction he personally nominated another EIGHT bishops (all French), whose names were probably recommended to him by the Order of the Templar, unless, of course, he had direct dealings with them. Still in line with the number ‘8’, Celestine chose the day 28.8 as the anniversary of his coronation. It was also the day in which he unveiled the Porta Santa (Sacred Door), the first real sacred door in the world. He started a religious movement that he named the Perdonanza (The Pardon), which was to be held on the 28.8 every year, not to mention the Labyrinth, which conceals the secret of the ‘>888<’.

Such a persistent numerical reoccurrence certainly cannot be merely of folkloristic and superstitious value. Instead, when carefully examined, it demonstrates in Pietro a deep awareness of ancient knowledge and in particular of the theories and studies of Plato and Pythagoras, which were precisely centred on the THREE OCTAVES. A quantistical and extremely contemporary vision, by which the entire universe is composed of vibration and sound, synthesised in 5 musical intervals, five fifths (‘5/5’) that are musically identified by THREE OCTAVES.

In truth, this vibration influences everything from the seas to a tiny drop of water, which, according to the note that is played - as taught in Cymatics, the science that studies water’s reaction to sounds -, creates different geometries (one of which has 12 branches), when exposed to this particular note.
Indeed, among tones and semitones, an octave is composed of 12 notes or sounds, which increase in frequency as the octave gradually rises to the higher end of the scale.

The strange thing is that the recurring number in the Labyrinth of Collemaggio is ‘288, exactly the same number of vibrations per second as a RE, on the first octave between the high notes on the keys of a piano. The rosette also conceals a numerical sequence connected to the number 8. Indeed, there are ‘12 wheels, subdivided into 4 and 8, which are fractioned by ‘24’ rays, for a total of ‘288’ rays.
According to Proclamato, the reason behind this lies in the figures beneath the wheels, all patiently waiting to be ‘arranged’ according to a millenary Egyptian sequence that can be found in the Dendera zodiac, where this celestial Egyptian panorama appears to be ‘supported’ by ‘12’ beings, positioned in the EIGHT directions, which show ‘24’ arms holding up the then known ‘72’ celestial bodies.

The THREE OCTAVES (888) of Aquila mirror a universal law related to the numerical series ‘8-12-24’, the basis of ‘sonic knowledge’, also interpreted and used in the Fountain of the 99 Spouts, where drops of water have been studied and reproduced, and which recall these rather evident acoustic games, for example: those in the rooms of Palazzo Farnese or, better still, the ‘Organofountain at Villa d’Este.

These peculiarities can also be perceived by a sensitive and attentive ear at the Fountain of the 99 Spouts, where the sound is so deformed that it almost dies out completely due to the particular angle of the perimetric walls,

something quite evident along the north-east facing walls.

In certain points, for example, the drone of the spouts tends to fade and level out, while in others, the drop of water becomes quite articulated and strong. In other points the sound is clearly accentuated, especially near the 'acute corner', where one can find the ‘fish’ spout, sometimes known as the Colapesce or the ‘man-fish’, which many claim has the same function as the cathedral corner stones, connected to L’Aquila’s function as the centre of Christianity and the world, as was the intention of Frederick II and Celestine V.

Before entering the Basilica a knight had to be purified by immersing himself in water, according to a special ritual.
Indeed, the night before he would have to stay by the fountain and listen to the sounds of the water and individualise the unique sound that made the 99 spouts vibrate in unison.

Indeed each of the 99 spouts has a different tone and vibration, almost unperceivable to an untrained ear, because only a true 'believer’ has the ability and the preparation to perceive the note that touches their heart.
When they had individualised the right spout, they had to drink from it, then kneel before it and meditate all night until dawn, honestly and impartially examining their lives and the errors of their ways, forgiving and purifying themselves so that they would be ready, the morning after, to face the initiation path, enter the Labyrinth of the > 888< and pass through the fateful 5 portals.
Only in this manner could they immerse themselves in the interior world in the search for that droplet of God that is hidden in the heart of each and every one of us.

This world, contained in the palm of your hand, is like a tiny drop of water; it is up to you, and only you, to conserve it, as occurred on the 6 April 2009.

The Church of San Vito was gravely injured, but magic hands have conserved the light that emanates from the 99 spouts; a light that is within every one of us, wrapped in a tiny delicate heart of crystal.

Many things have been cancelled or fallen to the ground and it will take many months, even years, before things will return to how they were before.
But together we will rebuild the city, brick by brick, and the day will arrive that you too will be able to relive the sensations that Eddy and Giovanni experienced when they visited L’Aquila on the 25 September 2007, to see the Basilica of Collemaggio and this wonderful fountain studded with 99 gems for the first time,

and book room ‘99’ at the 99 Cannelle Hotel, seek out the only solitary rainbow amidst the 999999999 black droplets, and in the morning you too will hear the cockerel singing and see that rainbow in the sky