Trevi Fountain - Fontana di Trevi, Rome

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Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma, Italy +39 06 0608

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Fontana di Trevi: the Fountain of Romance

    by von.otter Updated Mar 30, 2011

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    Three coins in a fountain,
    Each one seeking happiness,
    Thrown by three hopeful lovers...
    Which one will the fountain bless?

    Three hearts by a fountain,
    Each heart longing for its home;
    There they lie in the fountain,
    Somewhere in the heart of Rome.
    — the opening two stanzas from the 1954 Academy Award-winning song, “Three Coins in the Fountain” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne

    The Trevi Fountain, Fontana di Trevi, has been celebrated, with just cause, in song, “Three Coins in a Fountain” from the 1954 motion picture of the same name, and in Federico Fellini’s 1960 “La Dolce Vita” when the very lovely, very drunk Anita Ekberg wades through its waters.

    This stunningly beautiful architectural masterpiece is an 18th-century success. The fountain was built during the pontificate of Clement XII, between 1732 and 1762. The design, by Nicolo Salvi, was chosen over 16 other entrees. Occupying the rear wall of Palazzo Poli, the fountain is more than 60.5 feet wide and 85 feet tall. The dominant figure, Neptune, was carved by Pietro Bracci in 1762. Two tritons guide their father’s chariot, pulled by two seahorses, through the rocky waters.

    The 20-mile long aqueduct that feeds the Trevi is called Acqua Vergine, the Virgin’s Water. The name is connected with the history of the discovery of the aqueduct’s source. One of the bas-reliefs above the fountain (see photo #5) shows a young woman, a virgin, pointing out the spring to Roman soldiers in 19 BC.

    The word trevi is a corruption of two Italian words tre vie, three streets, referring to the streets that converge at the fountain. Everyone who comes to Rome wants to ensure a return visit. Therefore, everyone participates in a tradition: to throw a coin into Fontana di Trevi. There is a method to the coin toss: stand with your back to the fountain, with the coin in your right hand throw it over your left shoulder, and smile for the camera (see photos #2 & #3). Not only will you return to the Eternal City but you will be doing good works as well; the coins are periodically collected and donated to the Italian Red Cross. The coin toss has its roots in the early days of Christianity; pilgrims, leaving Rome, would place a coin on St. Peter’s tomb.

    Because the coin toss is so popular the area around the fountain gets very crowded. To avoid the crush, visit early in the day; but not too early, or you run the risk of becoming part of the fountain’s cleaning crew as we discovered at 08:00 (see photo #4); we returned 90 minutes later to a clean fountain and fewer tourists.

    Fontana di Trevi, with its crowds, May 2007 Tom tossing a coin, Fontana di Trevi, May 2007 Philip tossing a coin, Fontana di Trevi, May 2007 Workers cleaning Fontana di Trevi, May 2007 Bas-relief, water source for Fontana di Trevi
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    Fontana di Trevi

    by Escadora7 Updated Sep 27, 2006

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    The legend goes that if you throw a coin into the Trevi fountain, you will return to Rome - aaah, wish it was tomorrow. This is probably the most beautiful fountain in the world. We had read in a tourguide that it is the most beautiful at night - so in the evening we ran across the streets of Rome until we stumbled onto it - and there it was. So incredibly amazing!

    A few facts:
    The first fountain at the site was built in 1453 by Pope Nikolaus V., financed from wine-taxes. In 1732 Clemens XII ordered the current fountain to be built, and about 30 years later his predecessor Clemens XIII christined it.
    It is suspected that the architect was Nicola Salvi, but that is not a known fact.

    The sculpture in the middle is Neptun or Oceanus. The 2 tritons were created by Pietro Bracci: the left one trying to tame a fiery horse (symbolizing the rough sea), and the right one blowing a shell-horn (symbolizing the quiet sea).

    Trevi became famous for a scene in Fellinis "La Dolce Vita", when Anita Ekberg takes a late-night bath in the fountain.

    Two love birds near a pond Trevi - lit by night Trevi fountain - Amazing Architecture I Trevi fountain - Amazing Architecture II Huddled in a cave next to Trevi Trevi Trevi Trevi Trevi cave next to Trevi
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    by mallyak Written Aug 27, 2008

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    The Trevi fountain, inspired by Roman triumphal arches, is the largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome (standing 25.9 meters high and 19.8 meters wide).
    In 1629, Pope Urban VIII, asked Bernini to sketch possible renovations of the fountain, finding it insufficiently theatrical. After the Pope's death the project was abandoned. Bernini's lasting contribution was to situate the fountain from the other side of the square to face the Quirinal Palace (so that the Pope could see and enjoy it).
    The Trevi Fountain as we know it today, was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and competed in 1762.
    The central figures of the fountain are Neptun (God of the sea), flanked by two Tritons. One struggles to master a veru unruly "sea horse", the other lead a far more docile animal. These symbolize the two contrasting moods of the sea.

    The site originally marked the terminal at the Aqua Virgo aqueduct built in 19 BC.
    One of the firts-storey reliefs shows a young girl (the legendary virgin after whom the aqueduct was named) pointing to the spring from which the water flows.
    Appropriately for a fountain resembling a stage set, the theatrical Trevi Fountain has been the star of many films shot in Rome, including romantic films such as "Three coins in a fountain" and "Roman holiday", but also "La dolce vita", Federico Fellini's satirical portrait of Rome in the 1950s.

    Tradition has it a coin thrown into the water guarantees a visitor's return to Rome.

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    Trevi, not just another fountain

    by alza Updated Apr 14, 2011

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    The Trevi Fountain is located in the Trevi Rione (quarter) in Rome and is one of the largest in the world. No point writing its history here and about how popular it is. Although... I know how popular the Trevi Fountain is, but I don't know about its history... and surely I'm not alone. (?)
    I'll be back tomorrow with a few details of its history then! :)

    I love the fountain but I'm always anxious to get out of the crowds there. I don't really like the kind of vibe there anymore. Just wanted to point out that the central statue is not Neptune but Oceanus, the god of all water.

    One thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Trevi... I bought original, old prints from Rome, on two visits to Rome many years ago, very near the fountain -- with certificates of authenticity and all. Very pleasant experiences (well for someone who likes antiques.)

    So after throwing your three coins in, explore the surrounding small streets, you might find treasures that will cost you all the money you'd set aside to get to Sicily! if you're as bad as I am at resisting temptation... But I never regretted buying those beautiful prints! I still remember the day I bought them every time I look at them.


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    Fontana Trevi

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 27, 2011

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    According to legend a foreigner who tosses a coin into the Fontana Trevi ensures his return to Rome but I didn't do it, was it a mistake or I was just stingy? I will come back to Rome, that's for sure, but it has to be month of May or June.
    Fontana Trevi is the largest and most spectacular of Rome's fountains and was designed to glorify the three different Popes, Clement XII, Benedict XIV and Clement XIII. Set against a large building the fountain is decorated with bas-reliefs and statues which stand upon mighty rocks from which the water gushes.
    It was built beginning in 1730 on the site of Renaissance fountain by Leopn Battista Alberti. The emblems and inscriptions of the three Popes are carried on the attic story. The central figure is Oceanus, the personification of all the seas and oceans and is surrounded by Tritons and Sea Nmphs.

    Fontana Trevi Fontana Trevi Fontana trevi Fontana Trevi Fontana Trevi

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    THAT Fountain

    by goodfish Updated May 15, 2013

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    This is the Grandaddy of Roman Fountains: the biggest, the most ornate, most photographed and the one everyone just has to see. Completed in 1762, the watery, Baroque-style wonder was designed by Nicola Salvi from an earlier plan by Bernini. The central figure on the seashell is Neptune, and his seahorses are guided by two Tritons. Trevi is situated at the intersection of three roads - tre vie, in Italian - hence its name. And as the legend goes, toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain and you'll be sure to return to the Eternal City. I pitched one in 1973 and have found my way back twice since so there just might be some truth to that story? The revenue from all those tosses goes to charity so if nothing else, it's a good use of some small change.

    The fountain hogs most of the room in its square and what little space it doesn't fill, the tourists do. And they come here in hordes: it's been mobbed every time we've passed through. Still, the thing is so big that you won't have any trouble seeing it; it just won't be a quiet or romantic experience unless maybe you're here very early in the morning or very late at night. Also, no Fellini-like romping in the pool: Anita Ekberg was allowed; you are not. The square is heavily patrolled to keep a hairy eyeball on potential fountain-paddlers and pickpockets.

    There's a good, reasonable restaurant, L'archetto, just a block or two from here - see my review on that.

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  • GracesTrips's Profile Photo

    Trevi Fountain

    by GracesTrips Updated Nov 2, 2014

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    The Trevi Fountain is located in a short distance from the Spanish Steps so you should combine this visit. You can exit at the Spagna metro station to see the Spanish Steps first or you can exit the Barberini metro station to see Trevi Fountain first.

    The fountain is quite magnificent. It's creation took a long path from 1629 with initial designs by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Then torn down to create the Salvi Fountain. But Nicola Salvi died in 1751 and then the Trevi Fountain was then finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini.

    The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous in the world. A nice replica of the fountain can be found at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

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    Ah, but what a cliche ...

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Aug 3, 2008

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    Yes, the piazza can be impossibly crowded, and yes, the surrounding streets are jammed with tacky souvenir shops and pesky hawkers but - oh yes, it is very beautiful and yes, you do have to come here - and yes - we threw our coins over our shoulder - well, why not? we were in Rome and this was the Trevi Fountain, every bit as much the classic image of Rome as the Colosseum or the dome of St Peters.

    An early morning visit will help avoid the crowds, something to consider if you're a keen photographer or planning a romantic proposal. - not too early though or you'll find your photos may feature a dry fountain and a team of cleaners - before 9.30 should do it. If you can, find time to walk through the piazza a couple of times at least at different times of the day.

    Everyone says the hawkers and scamsters are a pain at the very least and a real problem at times. We certainly weren't bothered in any way - whether that was luck or years of inurement from travels in dicier places than Rome, I'm not sure. Do be careful though, hold on tight to your bag and camera, don't get so taken up with getting that perfect shot or throwing your coins that you don't notice the innocent-looking fellow with his eye on you and your bag. Practice a cool seeing-straight-through-them stare and always say NO and mean it!

    Now go ahead and enjoy the whole Trevi thing - the fountain's just glorious, a wonderful Baroque fanatasy of stone and water, and the colour and buzz of the crowd can be part and parcel of it.

    Fed by the Aqua Vergine (the restored Roman Aqua Virgo, one of the ancient city's main water supplies), the fountain depicts Neptune, his chariot drawn by two Tritons (sons of the water god) and hippocamps (mythical waterhorses) taming the waters. A bas relief on the wall above the main sculpture shows the legend of how the source of the aqueduct's water was found.

    Crowds ... by day ... ... and  by night Neptune, Triton and hippocamp Founding tale

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    Three coins in the fountain

    by traveloturc Updated Sep 25, 2010

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    Trevi Fountain is the place that you can prove that you ve been in Italy and Rome ...If you dont have a picture of Trevi Fountain in Rome and if you didnt throw any money from your shoulder that means that you never been in Roma ....The Trevi fountain, is the largest and most spectacular Baroque fountain in Rome (standing 25.9 meters high and 19.8 meters wide.. was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and competed in 1762. isnpired by a schetch of Bernini
    Main figure of the fountain is Neptun (God of the sea), flanked by two Tritons.(sons of the god of the sea)It was also the main attraction for the famous hollywood stle movie of "Three coins in a fountain" and "Roman holiday",Frederico Fellini put the last point with "Dolce Vita" tradition is that a coin thrown into the water guarantees a visitor's return to Rome. Personally I m happy with it because I ve return Roma more than necessary.))) try it ....

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    The most beautiful fountain I've seen!

    by tere1 Written Aug 16, 2006

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    The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is the most famous and arguably the most beautiful fountain in all of Rome. This impressive monument dominates the small Trevi square located in the Quirinale district.

    The fountain is at the ending part of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC. It brings water all the way from the Salone Springs and supplies the fountains in the historic center of Rome with water.

    The central figure of the fountain, in front of a large niche, is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses. Each sea horse is guided by a Triton. One of the horses is calm and obedient, the other one restive. They symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea.

    On the left hand side of Neptune is a statue representing Abundance, the statue on the right represents Salubrity. Above the sculptures are bas-reliefs, one of them shows Agrippa, the girl after whom the aqueduct was named.

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    Is this fountain called Trevor? - 2004

    by craic Updated Jan 17, 2008

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    I came upon this by accident. I wandered into this very small square, and there was this huge fountain! No way you can stand back far enough to get the whole thing.
    Chokka with people!
    A woman behind me from Georgia (t-shirt and accent) flicked her map and asked her friend - Is this fountain called Trevor?
    There are a lot of fountains in Rome and each time I saw one I would wonder if it was the Trevi.
    But once you see the Trevi you know they weren't it.
    This is just it.
    Rome does this to you. It does monumentally huge and beautiful with a nonchalant air.
    Oh this? I've got plenty more like this.
    By the way, I defied superstition, and did not throw coins into the fountain.
    Yet I returned to Rome two weeks later without a hitch.
    I expect it only works if you believe in it.

    Don't skip the Trevi and have a bevvy
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    Trevi Fountain

    by sue_stone Updated Nov 7, 2004

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    The Trevi Fountain must be one of the most famous fountains in the world.

    When I first saw it I was amazed at how such a large fountain could be located in such a small piazza - it seems to be a little squashed in between the buildings, which probably just makes it all the more impressive.

    This large fountain appears to be carved out of marble that juts out of the back of one of the buildings.

    It is impressive.

    It is also pretty crowded here. Keep a tight hold on your belongings.

    If you get the chance to sit on the edge of the fountain (for the obligatory photo) take the time to throw a coin in over your shoulder - this is said to guarantee that you will return to Rome one day....

    I also heard once that if you throw 3 coins into the fountain that not only will you return to Rome one day, but you will marry an Roman.....I wanted to test this theory, but my husband wasn't keen on the idea!! ; ))

    Trevi Fountain Me & Alison at the Trevi Fountain Trevi Fountain Trevi Fountain crowds at the Trevi Fountain
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    Fontana Di Trevi: The Trevi Fountain

    by deecat Updated May 11, 2005

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    For many , the 1st thing they think of when Rome is mentioned is the sumptuous Trevi Fountain They only know of it from movies seen or books read.

    They have probably heard the legend that whoever drinks the water or throws a coin into the fountain, that person will, no doubt, return to Rome.

    What they might not know is that Agrippa brought the water for this fountain, which is Virgin Water, to Rome by means of an aqueduct. It is thought that soldiers of Agrippa were looking for water in the country, & they met a maiden who showed them the source of this pure water (hence, it is called Virgin Water.)

    On the right side of the Fountain is a bas-relief that represents this story. Now, the bas-relief on the left shows Agrippa explaining to Augustus his plan to bring this pure water to Rome.

    n 1991, Trevi Fountain went through a complete restoration & supposedly has been brought back to its original splendor.

    I did not know until I saw it that the fountain is really a facade of a large palace that is decorated with bas-reliefs on heaps of rocks with statues scattered about as water rushes & gushes from almost every part of this facade.

    I love the figures on this fountain such as the Roman God, Neptune & his Seahorses. The Trevi Fountain supposedly represents the two sides of the sea: Serene & Tumultuous.

    On the lower level of the fountain, a young girl can be seen, and her name is Trivia. Most historians think that the Fountain was probably named after her; thus, The Trevi Fountain.

    This fountain is very difficult to photograph unless you have a widescreen lens. That is why my photo is only a portion of the entire fountain. Another problem is the crowds of people who are also trying to take photographs.

    Allan & I made sure that we saw this famous fountain both in the sunlight & the moonlight.

    By the way, it's way more romantic &much less crowded by moonlight!

    The Trevi Fountain in Rome
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    The overrated fountain

    by Henrik_rrb Updated Dec 19, 2007

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    Not very far from the Piazza Venezia you’ll find the famous fountain Fontana Di Trevi. Although it’s quite hard to find it, since the piazza is so small. But just walk down Via del Corso (the big street in front of the Vittoriano) and follow the small brown signs, and you’ll eventually find also this fountain.
    The piazza is small, and specially during the hectic tourist-periods it could be more or less impossible to get even close to the Fontana Di Trevi.
    Not that you miss that much, it’s highly overrated if you ask me…

    Nicola Salvi built the fountain which was completed in 1762. In the middle is a statue of the god of the ocean/water, Neptunus. The fountain relies on a big wall, from the Palazzo Poli. On the sides of Neptunus there are two other statues, two tritons. They are keeping two "seahorses", one wild and one calm, which shows the two sides of the ocean.

    It got famous when Swedish girl Anita Ekberg (although she then forgot how to speak Swedish after three months in USA…) and Marcello Mastroianni ran around in the fountain, in Federico Fellini’s film “La Dolce Vita”.
    Don’t try to do an “Ekberg” though, since the Italian police for some reason doesn’t want tourists running around in their fountain… ;)

    The legend says, though, that if you throw a coin, over your shoulder, into the Fontana Di Trevi you’ll one day return to Rome.
    The community of Rome now and then take up all the coins in the fountain and gives it away to charity.

    UPDATE april 2007: Must say that my latest visit to the fountain gave me another view of it. It's still overcrowded with people around it, but the Fontana di Trevi is a very impressive monument with many details that easily pass by the onlooker.

    UPDATE december 2007: Was very nice to see the fountain in the dark, when lamps lights it up.
    Very crowded around it also in the evening though.

    Fontana di Trevi by night. Fontana Di Trevi Me in front of the Fontana
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    An Historical Masterpiece (5 photos)

    by nicolaitan Updated Aug 20, 2006

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    The Trevi Fountain has become one of the most endearing symbols of Rome. This Baroque creation is Rome's largest fountain, 85 feet high and 65 feet wide. Situated at the site of three roads (tre vie) in ancient Rome, it delivered pure water from a source outside the city and brought via an aqueduct named Aqua Virga, after the alleged virgin who found the water source. The original fountain worked for 400 years till the Goth invaders destroyed the aqueduct, one of the prime reasons for the fall of Rome.
    During the Renaissance, the Roman custom of building a fancy fountain at the end of an aqueduct was revived. Several fountains were built on this site on order of various popes, but the fountain we see today was built between 1732 and 1762 at the order of Pope Clement XII and designed by Nicola Salvi. In 1998 the fountain was refurbished with the addition of recirculating pumps. The last 3 images predate the cleaning.

    There is a lot more to the symbolism of the Trevi Fountain than some buxom movie actress splashing around in the water. Like so many Italian classic sites, mythology plays a major role in the characters depicted. The overall theme is the taming of the waters. The background is comprised of an Arch of Triumph with 4 Corinthian-style columns and an upper level filled with statuary. The center piece is the imposing Neptune guiding a chariot drawn by seahorses, one described as placid and the other agitated, to characterise the changing moods of the sea. They are guided by tritons, one aged and the other young, representing the extremes of humanity. Smaller niches to the side contain the figures of Abundance (wealth - on the left) and Salubrity (health - on the right). The statues above are of "Agrippa approving the plans for the aqueduct" and "The Virgin leading the soldiers".

    Current legend states that one should throw a coin with the right hand over the left shoulder to ensure a return to Rome. The true legend ---
    1 coin - return to Rome.
    2 coins - get married.
    3 coins - get divorced.

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