Friday, 7 January 2011

Rome: Part 8 - Fontana de Trevi

The Fontana de Trevi (Fountain of Trevi) was the basin for the aqueduct that was commissioned by Caesar Octavian Augustus and was built by his son-in-law Marcus Visapnius Agrippa, in 19 B.C., for the purpose of bringing water to the thermal baths in Rome. There is a long history about this fountain being built, falling into disrepair, being rebuilt and renovated, including the involvement of several popes who took interest in them from 1433 to 1730, for self aggrandisement.

Pope Clemens XII, the last pope to take on this project, had a design competition for the new design of this fountain, in 1730. Nicola Salvi garnered the top price, for the reason that his was the most economical. In 1732, the project began. It was funded by proceeds from the Italian lottery. Although the fountain was not yet completed, Pope Clemens XII inaugurated it in 1735. This project took about 30 years to complete. It went from Clemens XII to Benedict XIV, and finally completed under Pope Clemens XIII.
In 1759-1762 Pietri Bracci carved the "Ocean of Triumph" in marble, as designed by Salvi, who had passed away in 1751. Bernini got involved, to resite the fountain to face the Quirinal.  Giuseppi Panini took over the project upon Salvi's death and finished the fountain in 1762.

On May 22, 1762, Pope Clemens XIII inaugurated the fountain which remains as it is, up to today. At the top of the attic, is the papal crest of the pope who restored the fountain.
The palazzo behind the fountain makes for a good back drop for this fountain. It was bought by the city in 1885, and it now houses the National Institute of Graphic Arts.
The main feature of the marble "monument is a chariot in the shape of a shell, drawn by seahorses with Triton as their guide." The central figure is "Oceanus." On the left is the statue of "Abundance" and to the right is "Health."All around the fountain's boarders are "representations of rocks and petrified vegetation...which represent the sea." 

Whether you come in the daytime or in the nighttime, this Baroque fountain is just as beautiful and impressive. In the nighttime, the lights give it a dramatic effect with the play of light and shadow and the glistening, running water.
This beautiful fountain has been immortalized in such movies as "Three Coins in a Fountain" and "La Dolce Vita" by Fellini.

The practice of throwing coins by the Romans in the fountains, rivers, and lakes started in the ancient days, to win the favor of the gods of water for a safe journey and a safe return. Now, the tradition continues to maintain the fountain. About 3,000 euros in coins are collected each day.  

They say that if you throw a coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome. I threw my first coin in 1971, and it worked! If you want to go to the Trevi Fountain, right now, click on the hyperlink and take this virtual tour. Arrivederci


  1. This was a lot of fun to read. I love how you took the time to explain the history of the Fontana di Trevi and some of its details. Did not know that it was built as far back as 19 B.C. Amazing!

  2. Riz, I hope you clicked on the link for the virtual tour.



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