The first name of the square, Piazza dell’Esedra, still very common today, originates from the great exedra of the Roman baths, whose perimeter is traced today by the semicircular colonnade of the square.
The arcades that embellish the square were built between 1887 and 1898 by the architect Gaetano Koch, precisely in memory of the ancient buildings that stood on this site.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The Fountain of the Naiads in the center of the square is the work of the Palermitan sculptor Mario Rutelli, who carved it in 1901. The naiads represented are the Nymph of the Lakes, the Nymph of the Rivers, the Nymph of the Oceans and the Nymph of the Underground Waters. At the center of the fountain is the Glaucus group, sculpted in 1912, symbolizing the man’s domination over the forces of nature.
In the northern part of the square, we can find the Baths of Diocletian, public baths in ancient Rome, built between 298 and 306 AD.
Inside the ruined frigidarium of the Roman Baths of Diocletian, we can find the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri), a church built in the 16th century at the behest of Pope Pius IV.
Also to the north, there is the Octagonal Hall of the Baths of Diocletian, commonly known as the Planetarium, which, since 1928, for a long time, held the title of the largest Planetarium in Europe.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Termini railway station is located about 250 meters away. The closest Metro station, Repubblica, on the Metro Line A, can be found in the square. A bus stop with the same name is located in the eastern part of the square, on the bus Lines 64, 70, 82, 85, 170, 590 and 910.
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