Background of cinema’s masterpieces, Trevi Fountain collects thousands of people coins, looking for fortune
Rome is one of a kind in the world, an incredible mix of monuments and breathtaking landscapes, witnessing years of history and people stories, sometimes epic, sometimes legendary ones. You can discover Rome, but really knowing it is very different, knowing how to get into its narrow lanes, its streets, the ancient thermal baths and the copious churches. The effect on visitors is irresistible as the mythical mermaids songs for sailors and every time you will meet its glance, an unlimited passion will appear, as to strengthen a feeling only this city can create, as a best friend or a mysterious lover.
Any time you visit Rome is like the first one: there is always something new you can discover, admire, an eternal soul and a precious box hiding history, culture and art. A one of a kind metropolis fascinating people from three millenniums, by the same enthusiasm and devotion of ever.
This monument is one of the most famous fountains the world, a perfect mix of colours, shapes and materials, in the heart of the city, in Trevi square, in a great pedestrian area. If you get to Termini Station, you just have to take ATAC bus 175 and get off at Tritone/Fontana Trevi stop, 300 metres from your aim. By underground, you have to get off at Barberini stop, and then walk along via del Tritone and via del Lavatore, up to Trevi square.
We suggest you to reach it by feet, to take advantage of the landscape on the way, wearing comfortable shoes and having an ice cream to rest a little bit by the way.
This masterpiece made of travertine, marble, plaster, stucco and metals, is a perfect mix of late baroque architecture and sculpture; white marble as a soft and light summer cloud, among the sculptures standing out of a spouting swimming pool, in a majestic composition, inspiring strong emotions to the astonished and so incredulous visitors.
On Palazzo Conti di Poli side, it tells the story of the Virgin Water. Nicola Salvi was the designer, after he won a contest for a great water exhibition, by Pope Clemente XII, in 1732. Works started thanks to the incomes of the Gioco del Lotto in Rome.
The fountain story is connected to the still working 20 kilometers long Virgin Water aqueduct restoration.
The legend tells the name comes from the memorial of a girl, pointing at the exact position of the water source to some soldiers were looking for it. The restoration was made during Augusto Empire, by Marco Vipsanio Agrippa architect, Augusto son-in-law and designer of the Pantheon, by deviating the Aniene river water from the thermal baths in Campo Marzio. The aqueduct was damaged and restored a lot of times.
In the 13th century, the town connected it to other cities nearby, in a place called “Trebium”, probably the origin of the name of the fountain.
The first pictures come from a smaller Trevi Fountain, in 1410: three openings and three different tubs.
Pope Nicolò V commissioned the substitution of those tubs with just one rectangular one, on a bossed and castellated wall, to Leon Battista Alberti, together with the restoration of the three big masks for the water, in 1453.
From the history, to the current Trevi Fountain
During 1640, Pope Urbano VIII commissioned the creation of a new spectacular nucleus near Palazzo Barberini to the architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, so completely changing the square and the fountain.
The restoration, paid by the unpopular wine tax imposed to Roman people, started even before authorization.
Bernini was able to enlarge the square, originally just a crossroads, and relocate the fountain as we can see nowadays, but because of the funds lack, caused by the wars of the period, they had to stop it. But the determining act was by Pope Clemente XII, after many attempts, in 1731.
The monumental composition and the representations
The prevalent topic of the sculptural composition is the sea, on a rectangular swimming pool, bordered by rounded corners; it is located under the street level and to reach it you must get down a few stairs, minimizing the gap. On the rocks, down the building, there is a sort of triumph arch, where among some columns, there is the solemn and majestic statue of the strong, muscular and proud God Neptune, on an elegant coach shaped as a shell, pulled by two horses and two Tritons. The horses, “rough horse” and “quite horse”, represent the sea. On the side, there are two smaller recesses, containing the statues of the “Healthiness” and the “Wealth” under two low reliefs panels, representing Agrippa approving the Aqua Virgo aqueduct building, and the “Virgin” revealing where the sources of water are. You can also see many marble decorations describing plants and animals: try to look for the wild fig or the caper bush, the Pronikly pear cactus or the Verbascum, the ivy, the lake canes, the artichoke, the four grapes vine and a floating Colocasia; on the latter, there is a snail slithering on it and a lizard hiding itself behind an opening on the front.
Trevi Fountain gave great emotions at the cinema, being protagonist of many tributes, offering it glory and celebrity. The most famous show is by Federico Fellini, in his outstanding masterpiece “La dolce vita”, in 1960, with the unforgettable Anita Ekberg, wearing a pretty dress showing all her beauties, inviting in the fountain the great Marcello Mastroianni, speaking an unmistakable Swedish accent.
The movie won the Golden Palm at the 13th Cannes Festival and the Best Costumes design Oscar.
However, the first time the Fountain appeared as a protagonist was in the US movie “Three Coins in the Fountain”, directed by Jean Negukesco, in 1954. But we can’t forget “Risate di gioia”, by Mario Monicelli, the funny “Totòtruffa ‘62”, by Camillo Mastrocinque, in 1961, with a great Totò trying to sell the fountain to an unaware and unprepared tourist.
One of the famous habits of tourists in Rome is to launch a coin in the fountain, from the rear, closing the eyes, by the left hand, to assure they will come back the eternal city. There are so many legends about it: if you launch three coins expressing three desires, you will come back to Rome, you will find love and will get married. Another legend assured you Gods benevolence.
Nowadays, Comune di Roma collects all the coins in the fountain, offering them to the charity organization Caritas, to prevent they could be stolen by vandals.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Hotel Ariston, the ideal starting point to discover Rome!