The Fontana delle Naiadi (Fountain of the Naiads, 1870) is one of the largest of Rome's fountains and sits in the centre of one of its busiest squares, Piazza della Repubblica.
The fountain, which was the mostra (display-point) of the Acqua Pia Antica Marcia (an aqueduct built between 1865 and 1870), was originally devoid of decoration. In 1888, on the occasion of a visit to Rome by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, four plaster lions were added to it. The lions were later replaced by the four naiads, which gave the fountain its name.
In the centre of the fountain stands Glaucus, a fisherman who became a god of the sea. Clasping a dolphin, which spouts a powerful jet of water, Glaucus is surrounded by four naiads (water-nymphs), whose nudity and languorous poses caused a sensation when first unveiled.
The naiads were added in 1901 and are the work of the Sicilian sculptor Mario Rutelli (1859-1941). Glaucus was added in 1914 and is the work of the same sculptor.
In Greek mythology, naiads are the female spirits who preside over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater. Each naiad reclines on a different type of aquatic creature.