In Rome there are two fountains which bear the name of the Greek deity of water. One is located in Piazza Navona, and the other in Piazza del Popolo. Fontana del Nettuno in Piazza Navona enhances the architectural landscape of the square, counterbalancing, by its own monumentality, from north extremity of the venue, the imposing presence of the Moor Fountain (located on the east side of the square).

As it can be admired today, Fontana del Nettuno was completed no sooner than 1878, though its foundations were laid in 1570. It was Giacomo della Porta the one who designed the basin of the fountain, built of marble and Pietrasanta stone. The plan was to supply the locals of Campo Marzio with clean water brought to this part of the city by the Acqua Virgo aqueduct. The building of Fontana del Nettuno took place in this context, under Pope Gregory XIII.

Enhancing the look of the fountain became a necessity after the unification of the Kingdom of Italy, Rome being the capital of the newly formed state. The base was left virtually intact, but the added statues completely changed the sight. The statuary consists of a sculptural representation of Neptune killing an octopus (which is the centerpiece) surrounded by statues of nymphs, cupids, walruses and horses captured in clenched playful movements. The centerpiece was realized by Antonio della Bitta, whereas the peripheral statues were carved by Gregorio Zappala.

Fontana del Nettuno in Piazza Navona (Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Navona)
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy