Trevi Fountain, also known as Fontana di Trevi, is in the Trevi district of Rome and is the largest fountain of the city with the measurements of 49m in width and 26m high. The name Trevi derived from Tre Vie, which means three ways as the fountain is at the point where three streets meet.
The fountain is of great significance relating to Roman and world history. Also, there are a few myths, known and lesser know facts to it.
Myths, facts and significances of Trevi Fountain:
The origins of this fountain is to be believed from 19BC. It was the time of the construction of Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in ancient Rome, which was the water source for Roman baths and fountains of Central Rome. The legend has it that the name Aqua Virgo or Virgin Waters was given to it in the honour of a young Roman girl who used to lead the thirsty soldiers to it in order to quench their thirst. The Trevi Fountain was built at the end of Aqua Virgo Aqueduct where the three streets meet, thus giving the name the Three Street Fountain.
Up in the history books, it is written that the fountain was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini and several others. But there are also some people who believe that Salvi was not the original architect of the fountain. The legend has it, in 1730 Pope Clemens XII held a contest for many participating architects to bag the rights to design the fountain. Alessandro Galilei, a member of the same family the great astronomer Galileo was, won the contest. But the project was later given to Salvi, who was the next best choice for the project. This was due to the public outcry as the Alessandro was not a native Roman while Salvi was.
The fountain was later inaugurated in 1762 by the then Pope Clemens XIII, 11 years after the death of Salvi. Yet the major contribution to the project was from Salvi only.
The major part of the fountain is made from Travertine stone, which was found near Tivoli. Travertine stone is the material that was used for the construction of Colosseum. Travertine in latin means ‘From the Tiber’.
As the significance of the Trevi Fountain is deep. There are several statues in sculpted in the fountain, each depicting story. The statue of Oceanus, standing the middle, under a triumphal arch is of the most significant value. It is seen that the chariot of Oceanus is being pulled by two sea horses. Both the horses depicting the moods of the sea. While one being aggressive, the other being compliant. Also there are two tritons, leading the horses with the older one holding a shell to announce their passage. On one side of the Oceanus is the statue of Abundance and on the other side is of Health.
The four statues on the top constituting the benefits of rain on earth’s fertile land and the produces depending on water. The statues symbolise:
- Abundance of Fruits
- Fertility of Crops
- Products of Autumn
- Joy of Prairie and Gardens
One last and may the most know fact or a myth to many, is the famous coin through tradition. People here believe the myth that throwing the coin over their left shoulder from their right hand will make the water gods happy. Some says this tradition started in 1954 after the release of the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain,” that was shot at the Trevi Fountain. While many believe that the tradition is dated back to ancient Rome when the people used to throw coins in the water for either of the below three purposes.
- One coin to ensure their return to Rome,
- Two coins to fall in love, and
- Three to marry your love.
Approximately €3,000 in coins is believed to be thrown in the fountain everyday. Coins are collected every night and are used for the betterment of the Rome’s needy. The money collected from these coins are used to fund a supermarket for such people. The deed is performed by an Italian Charity called Caritas. According to a report in 2016, a whopping €1.4 million was collected from the fountain in the whole year. Though it is a crime to steal from the fountain, but there have always been the ones trying to do so. The most famous of them being d’Artagnan. He continued the deed for about 34 years before getting caught in the summer of 2002.
Now we will leave that on you to believe the facts or consider them as myths.
There have been many movies shot at the iconic Trevi Fountain, the most famous ones being Roman Holiday, La Dolce Vita, Three Coins in the Fountain, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and Sabrina Goes to Rome.