The fountain is in the Piazza della Repubblica, a semi-circular piazza in Rome, at the summit of the Viminal Hill. From the square starts one of the main streets of Rome, Via Nazionale.
The fountain was originally the fountain of the Acqua Pia (connected to the aqua Marcia aqueduct), commissioned this site by Pope Pius IX in 1870. Completed in 1888, it originally showed four chalk lions designed by Alessandro Guerrieri. These were then replaced in 1901 with sculptures of Naiads by Mario Rutelli from Palermo.
The naiads represented are the Nymph of the Lakes (recognizable by the swan she holds), the Nymph of the Rivers (stretched out on a monster of the rivers), the Nymph of the Oceans (riding a horse symbolizing of the sea), and the Nymph of the Underground Waters (leaning over a mysterious dragon). In the center is Rutelli’s Glauco group (1911/12), symbolizing the dominion of the man over natural force and replacing a previous sculpture.