Located in the Trevi district in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is one of the most beautiful and famous fountains in the city and in the world. The fountain, made for the most part of Travertino stone, was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini, after the death of the first designer. It was inaugurated in 1762 by Pope Clement XIII.
No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the iconic Trevi Fountain. Learn some interesting facts about the fountain before going to admire it!
1- The Origins are in Ancient Rome.
The origin of the fountain dates back to 19 BC, when it formed the end of the aqueduct called Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that supplied water to Ancient Rome. In that time, Roman technicians located the source of pure water, supposedly with the help of a virgin, the virgo of the name. This scene is represented on the present fountain’s façade. The aqueduct Aqua Virgo led the water into the Baths of Agrippa, and it served Rome for more than 400 years.
2- What’s the meaning of the Name?
The name Trevi derives from the word “trivium” (three streets), as it is located in the point where three streets meet: Via De Crocicchis, Via Poli, and Via Delle Muratte.
3- It is really big!
Standing 86 ft (26 metres) high and almost 162 ft (50 metres) wide, the Trevi fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome. It spills approximately 2,824,000 cubic feet of water each day, that today is recycled.
4- why do we Toss the coins in it?
Who does not know the tradition of throwing coins in the Trevi Fountain? But you maybe don’t know that the coins you may throw are three: the first to return to Rome, the second to find love, the third to have a happy marriage! The coins must be thrown over the shoulder, giving your back to the fountain, or it wouldn’t work. This tradition dates back to the ancient Romans who often threw coins in water and fountains to make the gods of water favor their journey or help them get back home safely. All the coins are collected every night and given to charity.
5- It’s a Movie star!
Everyone remembers, even without having seen the film, the scene in which Anita Ekberg enters in the water of the fountain with her clothes on, and invites Marcello Mastroianni to take a bath with her: “Marcello, come here!”. Besides Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the fountain appeared in the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Sabrina Goes to Rome, and Roman Holiday. The fountain is even replicated at Epcot in Walt Disney World!
6- Don’t commit crimes!
Bear in mind that it’s illegal to fish out coins from the fountain and to take a bath in it! Be careful, and be respectful of the monument.
7- The legend of the “Ace of Cups”.
This legend concerns Nicola Salvi, the architect who designed the fountain. It is said that the travertine sculpture on the wall that surrounds the fountain at the corner with Via della Stamperia, which represent a large vase, has been placed by Salvi for a very specific reason. It seems that the architect did not get along with a barber who had his own shop in what is now Via della Stamperia. The barber haunted him with constant criticisms and negative judgments about the work at the fountain. Salvi placed this big vase just in front of his shop, so that he could no longer see the works from there. The Romans then renamed this sculpture with the name “Asso di Coppe” (ace of cups), for its resemblance to the playing card.
8- The white stone fountain has been black, red, and blue!
In 1996 the fountain was turned off and draped in black crepe to honor actor Marcello Mastroianni after his death. Mastroianni starred in La Dolce Vita, that made the fountain more famous than ever.
From 2016 Rome’s Trevi Fountain is awash in blood red light on April 29th as the Catholic Church remember the martyrs and the persecuted Christians worldwide.
In 2017 the Fountain turned blue, during the International Summit “Water and Climate”, to make citizens aware of the importance of contributing, starting from small daily actions, to protect the environment and such a precious asset as water.
Then unfortunately in two occasions, in 2007 and 2017, the fountain’s water turned red, after a vandal dumped dye into it. The water was drained fast enough and there was no damage to the monument, leaving only surprise into the tourists that saw the fountain turned in a blood red pool. The Police escorted promptly the vandal from the scene, and he then affirmed that he did it as a protest against Rome’s corruption. We hope he will not do it again…
If you want to learn more about the Trevi fountain, and about all the other major highlights of the Eternal city, contact us and we’ll set you with one of our most enjoyed tours around the wonders of Rome!