When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And one of the quintessential Roman experiences that should not be missed is a visit to the iconic Trevi Fountain. Situated in the heart of the Eternal City, this grandiose Baroque masterpiece has captured the hearts of millions of visitors over the centuries and continues to be a symbol of love, beauty, and wish fulfillment.
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A Brief History
The Trevi Fountain, or Fontana di Trevi in Italian, stands as a testament to the skill and artistic vision of several renowned architects and sculptors. Its history dates back to the ancient Roman times when the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct was constructed in 19 BC to supply water to the Roman baths and fountains. The name “Trevi” is believed to have derived from the Latin word “trivium,” which refers to the three streets that converged at the fountain’s location during the Middle Ages.
The current design of the Trevi Fountain is the result of a competition held by Pope Clement XII in 1730. Nicola Salvi, an Italian architect, emerged victorious with his imaginative and captivating design. Unfortunately, Salvi passed away before witnessing the completion of his masterpiece in 1762. His death left the project in the hands of Giuseppe Pannini, who ensured that Salvi’s vision was meticulously brought to life.
The Fountain’s Splendor
The Trevi Fountain’s awe-inspiring facade is a harmonious blend of triumphal arch and theatrical stage. Standing at a height of about 26 meters (85 feet) and stretching 49 meters (161 feet) wide, the fountain dominates its surroundings and beckons tourists and locals alike to admire its grandeur.
At the center of the fountain is a majestic sculpture of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, standing tall on a shell-shaped chariot pulled by two winged seahorses, one calm and the other unruly. These horses symbolize the contrasting moods of the sea. On either side of Neptune, there are statues representing Abundance and Salubrity.
The water flows from the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, cascading down the rocks and filling the large basin below, creating a mesmerizing display of water in motion. Visitors are irresistibly drawn to the fountain’s edge to throw coins over their left shoulders with their right hand. Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to Rome one day. Two coins ensure not only a return to Rome but also the discovery of new love, and three coins are believed to lead to marriage or divorce. The tradition has resulted in thousands of euros being collected from the fountain every day, which is donated to various charities.
The Magic of the Trevi Fountain at Night
While the Trevi Fountain is stunning during the day, it becomes utterly magical at night. The evening lights lend an ethereal glow to the marble sculptures, creating an enchanting atmosphere that captivates the imagination. The crowds that throng the fountain during the day thin out, allowing for a more intimate experience of this mesmerizing masterpiece.
Tips for Visitors
- Timing is Key: Visit the Trevi Fountain early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds and truly appreciate its beauty in peace.
- Respect the Monument: Be mindful of the rules and avoid climbing on or touching the fountain to preserve its integrity for future generations.
- Experience the Nighttime Magic: Plan a visit at night to witness the fountain’s enchanting transformation under the moonlight.
- Toss a Coin: Participate in the time-honored tradition of throwing a coin into the fountain and make a wish. Not only does it promise a return to Rome, but it also contributes to a noble cause.
The Trevi Fountain is not merely a tourist attraction; it is a symbol of Rome’s rich history, artistic prowess, and enduring allure. Its graceful waters and mesmerizing sculptures have the power to evoke a sense of wonder and romance in all who visit. Whether you are exploring the historic city streets or searching for a place to toss a coin and make a wish, the Trevi Fountain is a must-see destination that will leave an everlasting impression on your heart and soul. So, when you find yourself in Rome, don’t forget to throw that coin into the fountain, for who knows what dreams may come true amidst the eternal splendor of the Trevi Fountain.