Trevi Fountain, Sacred Symbol of Rome

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Trevi Fountain, the largest of Rome’s wonderful fountains, is one of the indispensable stops of city visits. Trevi Fountain, which has become one of the symbols of Rome, has a good history as well as a wonderful appearance. Every day, thousands of visitors make wishes by throwing coins into the pool of this fountain. During crowded summer days, 3,000 Euros were collected daily from coins thrown into the fountain. Other fountains in Rome are the Triton Fountain at Pizza Barberini, the Barcaccia Fountain in front of the Spanish Steps, and the Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navona.

History of the Trevi Fountain

Image Source: NikonZ7II, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Trevi Fountain was built after other fountains in the city. The only still functioning aqueduct in Rome was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus, along with the Roman Aqueduct and the Aqueduct of the Virgin. It is believed that the brave general Marcus Agrippa and the very thirsty soldiers miraculously encounter a young maiden who gushes from the ground with a spring of pure water. After this extraordinary event, Agrippa decided to build an aqueduct extending from the water spring to Rome. The Trevi Fountain had its present appearance in the 18th century. The fountain was built by Nicola Salvi, based on Bernini’s sketches. However, after Salvi died before the fountain was completed, his successor Giuseppe Pannini opened the fountain in 1761.

Trevi Fountain at night | Image Source: RoyFokker, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Representing the sea god Neptune, this fountain was built in the Baroque style. The fountain leaning against the facade of Palazzo Poli was built here at the request and order of Pope Urban VIII. In the middle of the fountain, Oceanus is depicted in a chariot drawn by winged horses led by the Tritons. One horse is calm while the other is excited, representing the two sides of the sea, sometimes stormy and sometimes calm. Next to the god Oceanus are Salubrità, the statue of Humility, and Abundant, the statue of Abundance. There are two panels on the statues that refer to the ancient legend. In these panels, which tell the story of the construction of the Virgin Aqueduct, the Virgin shows the source of pure water, while Agrippa stands with the soldiers on the other side.

There are four more allegorical and smaller statues on the upper façade of the fountain: The Amenity of The Gardens, The Fertility of The Fields, The Abundance of Fruits, The Wealth of Autumn. Among these statues is the imposing coat of arms, a great commemorative inscription of the Pope. There are so many details in the fountain that in addition to countless animals such as lizards and snails, the fountain is decorated with vines, walking sticks, bunches of grapes, leafy plants, figs and many other details.

The Trevi Fountain has a height of 26 meters and a width of 20 meters. The fountain uses close to 3 million cubic feet of water every day. While this water used to be wasted, it has been recycled for a while for reuse. The water of the fountain is crystal clear and clean. In 2007, someone secretly poured a substance into the water that would turn it red. The water was quickly drained and cleaned, and the spilled substance did not damage the fountain. Coins thrown into the fountain do not harm the fountain. According to the belief, if you turn your back to the fountain and throw a coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder, you will definitely return to Rome one day.

The Fountain’s Name Story

Image Source: Bengt Nyman, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fountain is at a point where three roads intersect in terms of its location. That’s why it’s called Fontana de Trevi, the Fountain of the Three Streets. The word Trivium, which means three streets in Latin, forms the name of the fountain. Tre Vie is also a word meaning three ways.

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