Flanked by grand 19th-century neoclassical colonnades, this landmark piazza was laid out as part of Rome’s post-unification makeover. It follows the lines of the semicircular exedra (benched portico) of Diocletian’s baths complex and was originally known as Piazza Esedra.
First built in 1888 to designs by Alessandro Guerrieri that featured four lions, Fontana delle Naiadi aroused puritanical ire when it was unveiled by architect Mario Rutelli in 1901. The nudity of the four naiads or water nymphs, who surround the central figure of Glaucus wrestling a fish, was considered too provocative – how Italy has changed! Each reclines on a creature symbolising water in a different form: a water snake (rivers), a swan (lakes), a lizard (streams) and a sea-horse (oceans).