Fontana, Domenico an eminent Italian architect, was born near lake Como in 1543; studied architecture at Rome, and while there was employed to erect the chapel of the Persepio in Santa Maria Maggiore. The pope, being desirous of raising an obelisk in the square of St. Peter's, collected about five hundred mathematicians, engineers, and learned men, among whom Fontana's plan was approved, and with the assistance of one hundred and forty horses and eight hundred men, he removed this immense mass, weighing about 750,000 pounds. For this undertaking he was created a knight of the Golden Spur, and a Roman nobleman. He afterwards erected other obelisks in Santa Maria Maggiore. He died at Naples in 1607. See Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, s.v.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.