called Piazza Esedra, the Piazza Della
Repubblica follows the shape of what was
once the ancient Baths of Diocletian.
These public baths were built 1700 years
ago and were the largest in Rome. The
church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built
by Michelangelo from the ruins of the
Baths, is right across from the colonnades.
It has a shape of a semicircle, and on
either side are two 19th century buildings
with the massive arches supported by columns.
In the center of the Piazza is the “Fontana
delle Naiadi” (Italian) or the “Fountain
of the Nayads” (English). This is
a large fountain, and was built in 1901
at the time of the great renewal of Rome
when it became the capital after the unification
of Italy. The fountain features four bronze
nymphs. Each of the four nymphs is naked,
which caused great consternation because
of their excessively realistic sensuality.
In the center of the fountain one can
see the figure of the fisherman Glauco
who's struggling with a fish to defeat
the hostile forces of nature, a figure
of a sea god, which was added later. Today
the square is a meeting point for official
demonstrations and for receiving visiting
delegations from abroad, and is usually
filled with traffic.