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The Trevi Fountain: History and Tales

The Trevi fountain

The Trevi Fountain in Rome is one of the most famous fountains in the world, you’ll find it immortalized in the photos of anyone who has visited the Eternal City at least once, and was the famous protagonist of one of the most famous scenes of Fellini's "La Dolce Vita". It is of course work of art, but also for the many curiosities and tales surrounding it. Let's find out more about this splendid stop on Waidy WOW's cinematic walks!

The Trevi Fountain: The Largest Fountain in Rome!

Lying just a stone's throw from Via del Tritone in the heart of Rome's historic center, the Trevi Fountain is the largest fountain in Rome and it was built onto one of the facades of Palazzo Poli.
The fountain is of course spectacular not only because of its complex structure, but also due to it’s size. Indeed, it is an impressive 85 feet tall and 65 feet wide! Whether arriving from the direction of Via Poli or Via della Stamperia, visitors cannot help but be rendered speechless. The two roads approach the fountain from side streets and the monument almost takes you by surprise at first, before gradually revealing itself in all its glory. You’ll have to see it to believe it!

A Fountain Within A Fountain

Another unusual fact that not everybody realizes is that the Trevi Fountain is so big it, actually has a second fountain! The second fountain is the Fontanella degli Innamorati: a small basin with two spouts which, according to legend, ensures eternal love for couples who drink from it.

The Long History of the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain as we know it today was built in 1700, but its origins are actually ancient. In fact, it stands on what was once the terminus of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct (built in 19BC and still in operation!). The Trevi Fountain then underwent several restorations during the ancient, medieval and Renaissance eras. The last restoration of the Trevi Fountain was done in 2014. Sponsored by Fendi, the restoration involved cleaning and reinforcing the overall structure and its statues, along with re-waterproofing the pool beneath.

The Trevi Fountain and the Legend of the Coin

The Trevi Fountain is known all over the world, for its oldest tradition – cossing a coin into the fountain. There are at least two versions of the legend of tossing a coin into Trevi fountain and both involve following very specific rules!

  • The best-known coin toss tradition requires you to turn your back to the fountain with your eyes closed, and throw a coin into the water over your left shoulder, using your right hand. This gesture has several interpretations but is generally considered to bring good luck, and in particular to guarantee one's return to the Eternal City.
  • According to another Trevi Fountain coin legend, one coin is not enough. Instead, three coins should be thrown, each representing a particular desire: to return to Rome, to meet the love of one's life and to marry.

These are just legends of course, but if you really want to return someday to the Eternal City (and maybe even find love), there's no harm in trying!

Why is it called the “Trevi Fountain”?

According to the most widely accredited theory, the name Trevi derives from the Italian word for three streets, "tre vie". The fountain did originally lie right at the intersection of three roads. Nowadays though, there are five streets leading to the Piazza di Trevi: Via Poli and Via della Stamperia (which connect the square to Via del Tritone), Via delle Muratte and Via del Lavatore.

Unforgettable Scenes At The Trevi Fountain

In Fellini's famous film “La Dolce Vita”, made in 1960, Anita Ekberg immersed herself in the waters of the fountain, inviting Marcello Mastroianni to join her. Today it is strictly forbidden to enter the waters of the Trevi Fountain, but this scene has contributed to glamourizing both the film and the fountain in the minds of people all over the world.
Its appearance in a variety of famous films ensures the Trevi Fountain a place of honor in the wonderful hydro-cinematographic walking itinerary of Rome brought to you by Waidy WOW.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome: How Many Coins Are Tossed In?

Every year, pounds and pounds of coins are collected from the bottom of the Trevi fountain. Euros, dollars, yen, currencies from all over the world can be found in the water. One may wonder, how much does it all add up to? Brace yourselves, the money thrown into the fountain amounts to over 1 million euros a year, or around 3,000 euros a day! All of the money that gets tossed in goes towards funding social projects.

If you are looking to discover more about the fountains of Rome, get ready for a journey through time exploring the history of this wonderful city. The WaidyWOW app contains fascinating walking itineraries, bringing to life the history and legends surrounding the many fountains and water houses of Rome, along with much more.