The Neptune Fountain (Fontana del Nettuno) is one of the most famous fountains in Rome, and is located on the Piazza Navona. There is another fountain with the same name, in the Piazza del Popolo! First built with only a basin (which lasted for hundreds of years), the fountain was finished in 1878, by two sculptors, Antonio delle Bitta and Gregorio Zappala. The main sculpture shows Neptune battling an octopus, and other sculptures that fit the ancient mythological theme of Nereids, cupids, and walruses.
Download a larger image and share the photo with your class, then try these discussion questions and classroom activities:
- Rome has the most fountains of any city in the world – 280! Discuss with your class the meaning of public places in ancient Rome and why fountains were so important in daily and artistic life. Then have them do a bit of research.
- Let’s think scientifically – how did the fountains work, in ancient Rome? Learn about aqueducts in Ancient Rome. Then listen to this short podcast, and discuss how water was brought into the city, cleaned, and utilized in daily life.
- Break students into groups and ask them to take a virtual walking tour of Rome. Using Google maps and images, have each group find several fountains that they love. What drew them to these fountains? Is it the art, the shape of the fountain or square, or something else?