The Trevi Fountain - Fontana di Trevi in Italian; is one of Rome's most famous and iconic sights. This is the largest baroque fountain in the city and one of the most beautiful in the world. The fountain is located in the Trevi district named after it and attracts millions of tourists every year.

The current fountain was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi in 1732. Construction began in 1732 and took several decades. Its design revolves around the theme of water, and the central niche depicts Oceanus, the god of the seas.

The fountain has been featured in many films, most notably in Federico Fellini's classic "La Dolce Vita" (1960). The scene where actress Anita Ekberg steps into the fountain is an iconic moment in film history.

The origin of its name

The name of the fountain, "Trevi", comes from "Tre Vie" (Three Ways), as it stands at the junction of three ancient Roman roads. The area surrounding the fountain has become known as the Trevi Quarter due to its iconic presence.

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More about the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and art, renowned for its grandeur, intricate details, and captivating design. Large and imposing, approximately 26.3 meters high and 49.15 meters wide. It was built on the back facade of the Palazzo Poli, creating a stunning backdrop for the fountain.

  • Central statue: The focal point of the fountain is the majestic statue of Oceanus, the god of the seas, located in the central. Oceanus is depicted sitting on a shell-shaped chariot pulled by two powerful sea horses. One horse is calm and docile, representing the calmness of the sea, while the other is wild and unbridled, symbolizing its stormy and turbulent nature.
  • Tritons and Sea Creatures: On each side are two Tritons (mythological sea creatures) whose upper body is a man and the lower body of a fish. Blown into large shells, Tritons create a dynamic and dramatic effect.
  • Facade and architecture: Its facade is a triumphal arch decorated with Corinthian pilasters and intricate sculptures. The central alcove is located within the facade, creating a sense of depth.
  • Bas-reliefs: At the base of the fountain are beautiful bas-reliefs (sculptures carved into stone) depicting scenes related to water, including the story of the discovery of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct by Roman soldiers and a legend about a young girl leading thirsty Roman soldiers to the aqueduct's source.
  • Waterfalls: The fountain flows dramatically from different points, creating a symphony of cascades. Water pours from the mouths of sea horses, the shells of Tritons, and various other spouts, giving the whole structure a dynamic and lively character.
  • Materials: The fountain is made predominantly of travertine stone, a limestone used in many Roman buildings and monuments. The sculptures and reliefs are made of Carrara marble, known for its quality and whiteness.
Its design harmoniously combines sculptures, architecture, and flowing water to create a stunning and unforgettable sight.
The artistic richness and symbolism make it one of the most iconic sights in Rome and the world of architecture and art.

Coin toss: Tradition and myth

The tradition of throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain is linked to the popular belief that it brings good luck and ensures a return to Rome. Here's a little more about this tradition:

  • Wishing for good luck: Throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder is believed to bring good luck. This gesture is seen as a wish or expression for something positive to happen in your life.
  • Ensuring a return to Rome: Tradition also holds that throwing a coin into the fountain guarantees a return to the Eternal City. This belief is especially strong among tourists who visit Rome for the first time and want to return in the future.
  • Three Coins: Some people follow a specific ritual of throwing three coins into the fountain. The first coin is for a wish, the second is for love, and the third is for marriage or wedding bells. This custom is especially popular among couples.
Charitable use: Besides superstitions and wishes, there is also a practical aspect to throwing coins into the fountain. Coins collected from the fountain are regularly collected and used for charitable purposes. The city of Rome donates the coins to various charities, and the money is to help those in need.

The origin of the tradition

The tradition of throwing coins into fountains for luck and wishes is ancient, dating back to different cultures and civilizations throughout history. Although it is difficult to determine the exact origin of this practice, several historical factors may have contributed to the development of this tradition:

  • Roman Rituals: The ancient Romans strongly believed in gods and goddesses associated with water and fountains. They often made offerings to these deities by throwing coins and other valuables into fountains, springs, and wells. This practice appeased the water gods and ensured a constant and clean water supply, essential for the city's and its inhabitants' well-being.
  • Mythological Associations: Throwing coins into fountains can be linked to various mythological stories. For example, the Roman myth of "Tiberinus and the Vestal Virgin" tells the story of a Vestal Virgin who dropped her necklace into the Tiber River. The river god Tiberinus fell in love with her and returned the necklace, so throwing precious objects into the water became associated with romantic wishes and offerings to the gods.

Where is the Trevi Fountain?

The Trevi Fountain is located in the Trevi district of Rome, part of the Quirinale rione (Quirinale district). The fountain is nestled against the rear facade of the Palazzo Poli, a historic palace. It overlooks the intersection of three streets: Via delle Muratte, Via di Trevi, and Via Poli. The distance from the city centre is about 1.5 km, which can be done on foot comfortably.

Map: the distance from the centre

The Fountain’s story

The history of the Trevi Fountain is fascinating, spanning centuries with various architectural changes and historical events.

  • Ancient Aqua Virgo: Its origins can be traced back to ancient Rome, when Marcus Agrippa, a general and close associate of Emperor Augustus, built the Aqua Virgo aqueduct in B.C. in 19 The Aqua Virgo was one of the ancient aqueducts that supplied Rome with water, and its terminus was near the current Trevi Fountain.
  • Renaissance and Baroque period: After the fall of the Roman Empire, Aqua Virgo fell into ruin. Pope Nicholas V ordered the restoration of the aqueduct only in the 15th century, during the Renaissance, to bring water to the newly renovated Trevi district. It was part of a larger effort to improve the city's water supply.
  • The application: In the 18th century XII. Pope Clement has called for tenders to design a new fountain at the terminus of Aqua Virgo. In 1730, a renowned architect named Nicola Salvi won the competition with his magnificent Baroque design.
  • Nicola Salvi's design: Nicola Salvi's design was grand and ambitious, with a large fountain and a triumphal arch facade. In the central niche would be a statue of Oceanus, the god of the sea, sitting on a chariot drawn by two sea horses and two Tritons. The general theme of the fountain was the vital role of water in the life of Rome.
  • Challenging construction: The construction of the Trevi Fountain was challenging, and Salvi faced many difficulties. Due to the complexity and size of the project, the designer did not live to see it completed and died in 1751.
  • Completion and subsequent modifications: Construction of the Trevi Fountain was completed in 1762 under the supervision of Giuseppe Pannini, Salvi's successor. Over the years, the fountain has undergone many modifications and restorations to maintain its beauty and stability.
  • Modern Renovations: The Trevi Fountain has undergone various restorations to preserve its integrity. Between 2014 and 2015, a major restoration was carried out with the support of the Italian fashion house Fendi, which helped to clean and repair the fountain.

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