Monday, October 09, 2006

Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza  de la Republica

This view over the Piazza della Repubblica is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from around Rome linked to an interactive map.

This busy square follows the curve of an exedra of the Diocletian Baths, where the Romas would exercise and play ball games. Because of this it was originally called Piazza Esedra and is often still referred to by this name today. The current piazza took form in the 19C after the reunification of Italy. The colonnades surrounding the square used to be filled with elegant shops, but these have now been replaced by banks, luxury hotels and, next to one, an infamous fast food outlet.

In the middle of the Piazza della Repubblica rests the Fontana delle Naiadi on which recline four naked nymphs representing the spirits of rives and springs. Each nymph is resting on a different creature representing the different forms of water – a sea-horse for the oceans, a water snake for the rivers, a swan for lakes and a frilled lizards for the subterranean streams. The central figure of the sea god Glaucus was added in 1911. In contrast to the modernity of the statues, the water supplying the fountain is fed by the Acqua Marcia, built in 144BC to supply Rome with water from Tivoli.

A large part of the Diocletian Baths have been incorporated into the Basilica of S Maria degli Angeli, which was designed by Michelangelo and adapted later by Vanvitelli. The old wall of the baths in which the entrance to the church is placed are a stark reminder of the prowess of Rome at it’s height.

The full panoramic image shown on the Rome tour by For better appreciation of this image go to the collection on Flickr.

For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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