Nymphs were native Italic water goddesses. The Latin term is lymphae but in inscriptions the Greek term nymphae was always used.
In Italy there were cults of fountains and springs. Nymphs were associated with sources of fresh water, springs, grottos and especially with healing springs. The grotto alludes to a cthonic character and thus they had a divinatory aspect as well.
In Roman iconography nymphs are depicted as young women with shells or hydria.
The native Italic deity Neptunus was also the god of fresh and running waters and there exist many inscriptions to Neptunus and the nymphae.
- Larson "Nymphs"
- Green "Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia"