Piazza della Repubblica and the Fontana delle Naidi, Rome, Italy

Piazza della Repubblica and the Fontana delle Naidi, Rome

This semi-circular square has been called Piazza della Repubblica since WW2, but officially it is still named Piazza dell’ Esedra. Unlike many of the other piazzas it is not pedestrianised and the traffic is very heavy. The Piazza stands on the site of the Baths of Diocletian which were the grandest of the Thermae or public baths in Rome. The baths were built between 298 and 306 and were unique due to their size. The baths were positioned on the northeast summit of the Viminal which is the smallest of Rome’s Seven Hills. Many of the rooms, within the ancient baths have been preserved and converted into various uses which include the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, where you can see some of the splendour of the original Roman walls. The church of San Bernardo alle Terme, which is now in one of the two circular rooms. In the main hall is part of the National Roman Museum. The “Octagonal Aula” is also part of the National Roman Museum.  In the centre of the Piazza stands the impressive Fontana delle Naidi, the central figure of Glaucus wrestling with a fish is surrounded by four naked nymphs whose appearance caused quite a scandal when uncovered in 1901. They are named the Nymph of the Rivers, the Nymph of the Lakes, the Nymph of the Oceans and the Nymph of the Underground Waters. The Piazza is well worth seeing at night when it is all lit up.

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