9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Trevi Fountain

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A trip to Rome would be incomplete without a visit the Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain, located in Rome’s Quirinale District, is one of the most beautiful fountains in the entire world. This fountain is not only beautiful, however.

Although it was only one of 1,352 fountains found in 4th-century Rome, the Trevi fountain has been a standout among the rest. The fountain was closed for a long time while it was being renovated by Fendi, a fashion house. It is now open again.

Here are 9 facts about Rome’s Trevi fountain that you may not have known:

1. Trevi Fountain is one the oldest water sources in Rome.

The origins of the fountain date back to the ancient Roman period, when it was built in 19 B.C. by the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct. It supplied water to the central Rome fountains and Roman baths. According to legend, the Aqua Virgo (or Virgin Waters) is named after a young Roman girl who led thirsty soldiers towards the source of the water.

The fountain was constructed at the intersection of three roads at the end of the aqueduct. The Trevi Fountain is named after these three streets (tre vie), which are the basis of the Three Street Fountain.

2. Salvi wasn’t the original architect

Pope Clemens XII organized a contest to create a new fountain in 1730. Although many prominent architects took part, Nicola Salvi was awarded the right to design the fountain. However, some theories suggest that he might not have been the first. Alessandro Galilei was originally awarded the commission, but after much public protest, the commission was given to Salvi. Why was the public opposed to this project? Galilei was Florentine while Salvi was native Roman.

Salvi, however, did not see his fountain complete. Although the first water was released from the fountain in 1743, it wasn’t until 1762 when a new Pope, Clemens, inaugurated and completed the Trevi Fountain. This took place 11 years after Salvi’s passing. The final product is still largely Salvi’s.

3. Gambling is the reason for the fountain’s existence.

Pope Clement may have been influenced by the fact that Salvi’s fountain project was the most affordable. The pope approved financing the works and used the third extract of the lotto to pay for it. The Trevi Fountain was funded by the proceeds of the reintroduction in Rome of the lotto. For those who were curious, the numbers of the first extraction were 56-11, 54, 18, 18 and 6.

4. It is made of the same material that the Colosseum

Most of the fountain’s construction is made from travertine, which in Latin means “from Tiber”. Calcium carbonate is a mineral that’s made from calcium carbonate. It was formed from hot spring water, particularly from Tivoli, which is 22 miles from Rome. Many men were hurt and some died while working with huge stones, including a stonecutter who was crushed in 1734 by a block of travertine.

5. It also uses a lot water

Trevi Fountain is a huge 85-foot tall fountain that measures almost 65 feet in width. The fountain pumps approximately 2,824,800 cubic yards of water each day from multiple sources, as well as the large pool in front. You don’t have to worry, the water can be recycled today (meaning that unlike ancient Romans, you won’t need to drink from the nearby drinking sources).

6. The fountain is charitable

Every day, around EUR3,000 is thrown into the fountain when it is open. People follow the tradition to throw coins over their shoulders. Legend has it that a coin placed in the fountain will guarantee a return to Rome. This tradition dates back to ancient Romans, who used to throw coins into water to help their journeys or to return home safely. If you are looking for love, throw in another coin. You can even add a third to make wedding bells!

Many people don’t realize that the coins are collected each night and given to Caritas, an Italian charity. Caritas use the money to fund a supermarket program that gives rechargeable cards to Rome’s poor to help them shop.

7. Stealing coins from Trevi is a crime

It is illegal to take coins out of the fountain, perhaps because it is against the law. It was common for thieves to steal coins from the fountain at night in the past. Three of them were actually caught on camera by a T.V. In 2011, a hidden camera was used to capture three of them. However, the most well-known raider was d’Artagnan. He was a fountain thief for 34 years until he was finally caught in 2002.

8. The fountain of white stone has been made black…and red

The fountain was made black with crepe in 1996 to honour Marcello Mastroianni, who died after the event. Mastroianni was the star of La Dolce Vita. This movie, which featured the Trevi Fountain as its most iconic scene, made the fountain even more famous.

The fountain was changed to a different color in 2007 when a vandal poured a liquid into it, turning it red. Because the fountain uses a closed circuit water supply, this caused water to fall from it to also turn red. Although there was concern that the liquid could cause permanent damage to the monument, it was quickly drained so fast that no damage was done. There was only a small crowd of amazed tourists!

9. The famous fountain is also famous in film!

The Trevi Fountain is a famous sight that tourists all over the globe love. The Trevi Fountain was featured in several films, including La Dolce Vita, in which Anita Ekberg leapt into the Trevi Fountain wearing only her clothes. Even Walt Disney World has a replica of the fountain!

Trevi Fountain: What can you learn from Trevi?

Our Twilight City Tour will take you to the Spanish Steps, Fountain and other Roman treasures. It’s a great way to see Rome in a different light.

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