Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Italy Blog #66: Rome: Secrets of the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain
In today's blog about our trip to Italy (in May 2016), we're highlighting the 11 "Secrets of the Trevi Fountain" in Rome.

WHY NAMED TREVI? - The fountain was built at the end point of the Roman aqueduct at the junction of three roads. These three streets (tre vie) give the Trevi Fountain its name, the Three Street Fountain.

THE FIGURES - The central figures of the fountain are Neptune (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 blocking urn

BARBERSHOP BLOCKING - One secret we did learn was that a large urn was placed on the right side of the fountain to block the view of it from a barbershop. Why? To get patrons of the barbershop to stop making suggestions how to improve the fountain!

A look at the fountain wall

Here are 11 more secrets from

1. One of the oldest water sources in Rome
Roman soldiers on the wall
The fountain dates back to ancient Roman times, since the construction of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in 19 B.C. that provided water to the Roman baths and the fountains of central Rome. It’s said that the Aqua Virgo, or Virgin Waters, is named in honor of a young Roman girl who led thirsty soldiers to the source of the spring to drink.

2. Salvi was not the original architect chosen
In 1730 Pope Clemens XII held a contest to design a new fountain. Many important architects participated, but in the end Nicola Salvi won the rights to design the fountain, though some theories say he may not have been the first choice. Alessandro Galilei, an architect from the same family as the famous astronomer Galileo, originally won the commission for the project but the commission was ultimately given to Salvi after a public outcry. The reason for the public’s objections? Galilei was a Florentine, while Salvi was a native Roman.
FOUNTAIN COMPLETED - However Salvi never saw his fountain completed. The first water came out of the fountain in 1743 but it wasn’t until 1762 that a different Pope, Clemens XIII, officially completed and inaugurated the new Trevi Fountain, 11 years after Salvi’s death. Still, the final product is largely his.

3. Gambling allowed for the fountain’s existence.
The pope approved the financing of the fountain and also used a lotto game to pay for it. 

4. Made from same material as the Colosseum…
The fountain is mostly built from travertine stone, a name that means “from the Tiber (River)” in Latin. A mineral made of calcium carbonate formed from spring waters, especially hot springs, the likely source was the city of Tivoli, about 22 miles from Rome.

5. Height, Width and Water Usage
It is 85 feet tall and is almost 65 feet wide. With water pumping out of multiple sources and the large pool in front, the fountain spills about 2,824,800 cubic feet of (recycled) water every day! 

6. Coins Toss Legends
Side view of the Trevi Fountain
About 3,000 Euro are tossed into the fountain daily. Coins should be tossed over the shoulder. The legend holds that a coin thrown into the fountain will ensure a return to Rome. This tradition also dates back to the ancient Romans who often threw coins in water to make the gods of water favor their journey or help them get back home safely. Throw in a second coin if you’re seeking love – even a third for wedding bells.

7. It’s a crime to steal the coins from the Trevi
It's illegal to fish out coins from the fountain. In 2011 thieves were caught by a T.V. show using a hidden camera in 2011. On thief named d’Artagnan stole the coins from the fountain for 34 years before being caught in 2002.

8. The white stone fountain has been black and red
In 1996 the fountain was turned off and draped in black crepe to honor actor Marcello Mastroianni after his death. Mastroianni starred in La Dolce Vita, a movie whose most famous scene was filmed in the Trevi Fountain.  In 2007 a vandal dumped a red liquid into the fountain turning the water red. 

9. This famous fountain is famous on film too!
It appeared in the movies La Dolce Vita,  Roman Holiday, Three Coins in the Fountain and even The Lizzie McGuire Movie. The fountain is even replicated at Epcot in Walt Disney World!
Tom at the Trevi

Rob at the Trevi
10. Fatalities of Construction
During construction many men were injured and a few died when working with enormous stone, including a stonecutter who was crushed by a large block of travertine in 1734.

11. Fountain Coins Go to Charity 
What many don’t know is that the coins are collected every night and given to an Italian charity called Caritas. Caritas, in turn, use the money for a supermarket program giving rechargeable cards to Rome’s needy to help them get groceries.

NEXT: The Famous "Spanish Steps" 

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

I'm a simple guy who enjoys the simple things in life, especially our dogs. I volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy exercising, blogging, politics, helping friends and neighbors, participating in ghost investigations, coffee, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country music,writing books on ghosts and spirits, cooking simply and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.