The Trevi Fountain is one of the top 10 tourist attractions in Rome and really ought to be seen not once, but twice. During daytime the fountain is already an impressive monument, but it is at its most imposing after midnight, when the crowds have returned to their hotels and there are but few people left to admire this brightly lit baroque masterpiece. Throw a coin into the fountain and you are sure to return to Rome one day. Throw yourself into the water and you will be fined. The last restoration of the monument was completed in November 2015.
Trevi Fountain Rome
The address of the Fontana di Trevi is Piazza di Trevi, snc. It can be viewed at any time of the day. The nearest metro stops are Barberini and Spagna. There is obviously no entrance fee, but it might be advisable to throw a coin into the fountain (see below). It is one of those attractions that you really ought to visit twice, once during the day and once after midnight, when the crowds have left and you have the square mostly to yourself. It is only then that you can really experience how imposing this Baroque masterpiece really is.
History Trevi Fountain Rome
Pope Clement XII commissioned the architect Nicola Salvi to construct the fountain.
The monument was built as a showpiece fountain for the restoration of the Acquedotto Vergine built by Agrippa in 19 BC.
It is actually rather unexpected Salvi was the one chosen to design the fountain, since he was certainly not among the most distinguished architects of the time. However, he won the competition launched by the Pope, beating such famous contemporaries as Fernando Fuga and his friend Luigi Vanvitelli. One important reason for his victory was that his project was cheaper than the others. (With Vanvitelli, he was later to collaborate on the Sant’Antonio dei Portoghesi Church and the Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi, however.)
Part of the 17,647 scudi the work would cost was paid for with the proceeds of a lottery drawing.
The inauguration took place in 1735, although the fountain was not yet finished. The pope was old and frail and still wanted to witness the inauguration. He would eventually die in 1740.
In August 1743, although the monument was still not completed, the first water came out of the fountain.
At least three workers died as a result of accidents while working on the fountain.
The Architects of the Trevi Fountain
Salvi also died long before work on the fountain was finished, in 1751. The man who took over was called Giovanni Paolo Pannini. However, when he made too many changes to Salvi‘s design, he was fired. Finally, the project was successfully completed under the direction of Pietro Bracci, who added the “Triumph of Neptune” sculpture group. On May 22, 1762, the final dedication of the Fontana di Trevi took place.
The name is “Trevi” because there used to be 3 streets (“tre vie”) leading to the square.
The Trevi Fountain (height 26m and width 22m) is, as is the case with several churches and monuments in Rome, located at the spot where there used to be a well. It was called Trevi because the square it faces is called Trevi and the square is called Trevi because three streets (“tre vie“) used to lead to it.
The statue to the right of the fountain depicts a virgin who had told a soldier where the well was to be found.
The statue dominating its center depicts the Sea God Neptune on a shell-shaped chariot. Two winged horses pull him towards the ocean. The horses, one calm and one restless, personify the two aspects of the sea.
The niches on either side of the fountain contain statues personifying “Health” and “Abundance”.
During the time of the Roman Empire, it was custom to build a monument where a water source had sprung up.
The relief above the left statue shows Agrippa showing his soldiers where to build the aqueduct.
The relief above the personification of “Health” depicts the virgin who had shown a soldier the way to this spring.
The fountain is built agains the back of the historic building Palazzo Poli. It was, and still is, fed by the Acqua Vergine Aqueduct.
Trevi Fountain Do’s and Dont’s
Of all the tourist attractions in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is perhaps the most touristy. Almost every shop in every street leading to the fountain in some way or other is part of the tourist industry. People take you picture and want money for it, people try to sell you bracelets, sunglasses, roses when you’re a couple and umbrellas when it rains. Often these days, there are so many people that you are not even allowed to stand still anymore.
It is common practice to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain before leaving Rome. This has to be done over the left shoulder, with one’s back to the monument. According to legend this will assure a future return to the Eternal City. In the past one was supposed to take a sip of water from the fountain in order to achieve this, not the most healthy of superstitions.
One of the most famous scenes in the history of world cinema is the one in Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita where Anita Ekberg invites Marcello Mastroianni to join her in the Trevi Fountain.
Nowadays tourists sometimes think it would be nice to act like Anita Ekberg and jump into the fountain. Fines are steep, so you might want to think twice before doing this. Recently, the authorities have gone a step further and you are not even allowed to sit on the ledge around the fountain anymore.