The theme goes back to the flood of 1598, when boats could reach the place now occupied by this fountain (hence the name). Pope Urban VIII commissioned the work from Bernini in 1627. In that area, the pressure of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct was too low (the Acqua Vergine aqueduct serves the fountain to this day). The low pressure ruled out the use of gushing water and cascades as effects. The problem was solved by using a boat form under the water and below ground level with fountains that would deliver the water from the stern and the prow.
Terminati i lavori di restauro, lunedì 22 settembre 2014 si è svolta a Piazza di Spagna l'inaugurazione in presenza del sindaco di Roma Ignazio Marino, l’Assessore alla Cultura Giovanna Marinelli e il Sovrintendente capitolino Claudio Parisi Presicce.