The Trevi Fountain is in the heart of the the old city of Rome. It is one of the most famous fountains in the world, a marvellous example of high Baroque craftsmanship and a must-see for anyone travelling to Rome.
The story of the Trevi Fountain starts in the 1st century BC, with the discovery of a fresh source of water some 14 miles from Rome. This water was of such excellent quality that the Romans soon built the Aqua Virgo aqueduct to transport it to the city, where it splashed out into a pool located exactly where the Trevi Fountain stands today.
Work on the current fountain started in 1732 under the artist Nicola Salvi, and finished 30 years later under Giuseppe Panini. Both were considerable characters, the former allegedly designing the outcropped vase to the right of the fountain with the specific intention of blocking the view of a disagreeable barber. The fountain is built from travertine and carrara marble; sculptor Pietro Bracci created the central figure of Ocean atop his triumphal chariot carried by two tritons, and the adjacent figures of Abundance and Health. The fountain is teeming with numerous further allegorical statues, a veritable menagerie of animals, and around 30 species of intricately carved plants including grapes, cacti and artichokes.
The money shot
Visitors who flock to the Fountain today enjoy the superstitions surrounding it. It is said that throwing three coins over your left shoulder from your right hand into the fountain will bring you safely back to Rome, lead you to meet a new love, and lastly lead to marriage. An incredible €3000 is hurled into the water every day, causing a constant plink of misdirected coins and considerable theft from the fountain. The haul - totalling some €1 million annually - is collected by city workers at the end of every night, and used to run food programs for the needy.
The Trevi Fountain has a prominent place in popular culture, famously playing host to Anita Ekberg in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Its grandeur, beauty and romanticism continue to make it an alluring spot to this day.