Things to do in Rome
Started in 1732, construction of Trevi Fountain underwent many changes in plans before it was finally completed in 1762. More important than the fountain’s beautiful and scenic nature is its water, which flows to it from the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. It has turned into a popular destination for anyone in Rome, only partly because of the tradition started by a group of young people in the late 1800s, who decided to throw coins in the fountain and make wishes. Some stories say that this is in keeping with ancient Roman superstition, and that Roman legionaries, before going on military campaigns, would throw a coin into what was probably another fountain close by and make a wish to come back to Rome alive. But there are several different theories about the coin toss. One of them is that the tradition started with the American movie Three Coins in the Fountain, shot in Rome in 1954. Another legend says that tossing one coin in the fountain means you will return to Rome, while tossing a second means you will return and fall in love there, but it has to be done by using your right hand and tossing the coin over your left shoulder. No matter what is true, this fountain makes around 3,000 euros per day in the high season and the money goes to charity, so that’s what really matters.
In 2014, the first restoration of the fountain was done by the fashion brand Fendi, and of course they had to organize a grand runway show with models walking on a clear glass catwalk over the fountain’s water, which looked amazing. A lot of celebrities came to this important event.
But why is this considered the most important and romantic fountain in Italy? It could be the late Baroque-period art mixed with Rococo styling, or the impressive ocean god that stands at the center of the fountain, or the statues on the side representing salubrity or abundance. Maybe it’s the stories depicted on the top of the fountain, showing General Marcus Agrippa and the period when the aqueduct Aqua Virgo was being built. Either way, it’s almost certainly due to the great architect Nicola Salvi, who had the genius idea to design the Trevi Fountain to be scenic and extravagant, almost like a theater show. It’s as if those statues are acting out a scene and the water is the main character of this beautiful performance, which was the main idea of what Baroque art represented. What we know is that the final design was loved by everyone when it was finished in 1762. It was also mentioned by the famous German archeologist of the later 1900s, Wolfgang Helbig, who felt that he had gained great inspiration from it on those wonderful evenings that he spent in Rome with his friends.
Why was it called the Trevi Fountain? The name is from the old Vulgar Latin treio or trivio, which indicated that it was at the intersection of three streets. During the 1410s, Pope Nicholas V gave the project to another great architect named Leon Battista Alberti. Alberti designed the fountain with three tubs, each one facing a different direction.
In all, the Popes who oversaw work on the Trevi Fountain were Nicholas V, Urban VIII, Innocent XIII, Clement XI, Innocent XIII, Benedict XIV, Clement XII, and Clement XIII, who finally saw it completed on Sunday, 22 May in 1762. If all these popes were involved in the project, it had to be the best fountain in the world.
Trevi Fountain has become one of the most important spots in Rome. Famous singer Jon Bon Jovi made the music video for his song Thank You For Loving Me at the fountain, and big movies and commercials were shot there. Tourists often visit to take photos and toss coins into the water.
There was also an incident in 2017 where a creative, but lunatic futuristic artist called Grazioano Cecchini dyed the fountain’s water red, and was arrested by local police.
Top reasons to visit the Trevi Fountain today: