Jul 19, 2006 - Wanderlust    No Comments

Finding your way back to Rome

“They” say if you toss a coin in the fountain, you’ll guarantee your return to Rome.

Everything you ever wanted to know about that famous Roman fountain, including a guaranteed way to get back to Rome… and then some

How did that famous fountain get its name?

The Trevi Fountain stands at the junction of three roads, ceremoniously marking the end point of one of Rome’s earliest aqueducts, Aqua Virgo. It’s location led to it’s rather literal name- Fontana di Trevi means Three Street Fountain. It’s believed the name was derived from the Latin word trivium, which as you might have guessed, means three streets.

History and stuff

Trevi fountain has not always been spectacular. In 1629, Pope Urban VIII was unimpressed with the earlier version of the fountain, claiming it lacked drama. The Pope asked prominent architect and artist, Gian Lorenzo Bernini to design possible renovations for the fountain. The renovations were never completed though, as the project was abandoned when Pope Urban died. Fast forward to 1730 when Pope Clement XII organized a contest with  the winner of this contest being commissioned to redesign the Trevi Fountain. The original winner was Alessandro Galilei, but Romans were outraged that a Florentine had been chosen. To silence the outcry, the second place contestant, Nicola Salvi, was awarded the commission. [Rome and Florence always seem to be testy with each other].

Salvi soon began designing the new fountain around the theme “Taming of the Waters”. Construction began in 1732, with Palazzo Poli serving as a backdrop. The fountain’s facade and sea reef were made from travertine, a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs. The statues were carved from Carrara marble. Unfortunately Salvi would not live to see completion of his masterpiece. After his death in 1751, Giuseppe Pannini took charge of the project, completing the fountain in 1762. The finished fountain would be the largest Baroque fountain in the city- 26.3 meters high and 49.15 meters wide.

trevi at day

Want to get back to Rome & What happens to all that money?

Legend has it that if you turn around and toss a penny [eurocent?] into the Trevi Fountain, you’ll find your way back to Rome. Who am I to argue with a legend?

trevi at night

When I travel, I like to do all the fun little rituals that promise everything from good luck to falling in love. So like custom dictates, I turned my back to the water and using my right hand, tossed a coin over my left shoulder. There… now I have guaranteed I’ll be finding my way back to Rome at some point in the future! Legend holds, that if you toss in a second coin you’ll fall in love with an Italian. I’ve even heard that throwing in three coins means you will marry an Italian.

Let’s just say I only tossed one coin in the fountain. Falling in love is the last thing I need in my life right now… especially a long distance, international affair.

With all that coin tossing, there is a lot of money that ends up in the fountain! Every night about 3,000 Euros are swept up from the bottom of the basin. The money is donated to Caritas, a catholic charity, who uses the money to provide services for needy families in Rome. Some of the money is used to subsidize a low cost supermarket. So at least you know that Eurocents are going to support a good cause.

oceanus trevi

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