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.
Trevi Fountain Rome
History and description
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.
In reality it is severely forbidden to enter the water of the Fontana di Trevi, which was designed by the architect Nicola Salvi by order of Pope Clement XII.
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”.
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.
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.