Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is a fountain
A fountain is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air either to supply drinking water or for decorative or dramatic effect....

 in the Trevi rione
Trevi (rione of Rome)
Trevi is the rione II of Rome. The origin of its name is not clear,but the most accepted possibility is that it comes from the Latin trivium, because there were three streets all leading to "piazza dei Crociferi",...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Standing 26 metres (85.3 feet) high and 20 metres (65.6 feet) wide, it is the largest Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.

Pre-1629 history of the aqueduct and the fountain site

The fountain at the junction of three roads (tre vie) marks the terminal point of the "modern" Acqua Vergine
Acqua Vergine
Acqua Vergine is one of the several aqueducts that serve the city of Rome, in Italy, with pure drinking-water. The name derives from the name of its predecessor, Aqua Virgo, which was constructed by Marcus Agrippa in 19 BC, terminating at its castellum at the Baths of Agrippa, and, through a...

, the revived Aqua Virgo
Aqua Virgo
The Aqua Virgo was one of the 11 aqueducts that supplied the city of ancient Rome. The aqueduct fell into disuse with the fall of the Roman Empire, but was fully restored nearly a whole millennium later during the Renaissance to take its current form as the Acqua Vergine.The Aqua Virgo was...

, one of the ancient aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. In 19 BC, supposedly with the help of a virgin, Roman technicians located a source of pure water some 13 km (8.1 mi) from the city. (This scene is presented on the present fountain's façade.) However, the eventual indirect route of the aqueduct made its length some 22 km (13.7 mi). This Aqua Virgo led the water into the Baths of Agrippa
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a Roman statesman and general. He was a close friend, son-in-law, lieutenant and defense minister to Octavian, the future Emperor Caesar Augustus...

. It served Rome for more than four hundred years. The coup de grâce
Coup de grâce
The expression coup de grâce means a death blow intended to end the suffering of a wounded creature. The phrase can refer to the killing of civilians or soldiers, friends or enemies, with or without the consent of the sufferer...

for the urban life of late classical Rome came when the Goth besiegers in 537/38
Siege of Rome (537-538)
The First Siege of Rome during the Gothic War lasted for a year and nine days, from 2 March 537 to 12 March 538. It was fought between the defending East Romans, under general Belisarius, and the Ostrogothic army under king Vitiges...

 broke the aqueducts. Medieval Romans were reduced to drawing water from polluted wells and the Tiber
The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing through Umbria and Lazio to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It drains a basin estimated at...

 River, which was also used as a sewer.

The Roman custom of building a handsome fountain at the endpoint of an aqueduct that brought water to Rome was revived in the 15th century, with the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

. In 1453, Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V , born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from March 6, 1447 to his death in 1455.-Biography:He was born at Sarzana, Liguria, where his father was a physician...

 finished mending the Acqua Vergine aqueduct and built a simple basin, designed by the humanist architect Leon Battista Alberti, to herald the water's arrival.

Commission, construction and design

In 1629 Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII , born Maffeo Barberini, was pope from 1623 to 1644. He was the last pope to expand the papal territory by force of arms, and was a prominent patron of the arts and reformer of Church missions...

, finding the earlier fountain insufficiently dramatic, asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian artist who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age and also a prominent architect...

 to sketch possible renovations, but when the Pope died, the project was abandoned. Though Bernini's project was torn down for Salvi's fountain, there are many Bernini touches in the fountain as it was built. An early, striking and influential model by Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona, by the name of Pietro Berrettini, born Pietro Berrettini da Cortona, was the leading Italian Baroque painter of his time and also one of the key architects in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture. He was also an important decorator...

, preserved in the Albertina, Vienna
Albertina, Vienna
The Albertina is a museum in the Innere Stadt of Vienna, Austria. It houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawings and approximately 1 million old master prints, as well as more modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings...

, also exists, as do various early 18th century sketches, most unsigned, as well as a project attributed to Nicola Michetti
Nicola Michetti
Nicola, Niccolo or Niccolò Michetti was an Italian Baroque architect....

 one attributed to Ferdinando Fuga
Ferdinando Fuga
Ferdinando Fuga was an Italian architect, whose main works were realized in Rome and Naples in the Baroque style.-Biography:Born in Florence, he began to work in that city as a pupil of Giovanni Battista Foggini. In 1717 he moved to Rome, to continue his apprentice studies...

 and a French design by Edme Bouchardon
Edmé Bouchardon
Edmé Bouchardon was a French sculptor, esteemed in his day as the greatest sculptor of his time and valued as a draughtsman as well.-Biography:...

Competitions had become the rage during the Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 era to design buildings, fountains, and even the Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The Scalinata is the widest staircase in Europe...

. In 1730 Pope Clement XII
Pope Clement XII
Pope Clement XII , born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope from 12 July 1730 to 6 February 1740.Born in Florence, the son of Bartolomeo Corsini, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabella Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo, Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer and financial manager under preceding...

 organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi
Nicola Salvi
Nicola Salvi or Niccolò Salvi was an Italian architect most famous for the Trevi Fountain in Rome, where he was born and died. His work is in the late Roman Baroque style. In addition to the Trevi Fountain, Salvi did minor works such as churches and the enlargement of the Odescalchi Palace with...

 initially lost to Alessandro Galilei – but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway. Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Clement's death, when Pietro Bracci
Pietro Bracci
Pietro Bracci was an Italian sculptor working in the Late Baroque manner.-Biography:He was born in Rome and became a student of Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari and Camillo Rusconi...

's Oceanus (god of all water) was set in the central niche.

Salvi died in 1751, with his work half-finished, but before he went he made sure a stubborn barber's unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase, called by Romans the asso di coppe, the "Ace of Cups
Ace of Cups
Ace of Cups is a card used in Latin suited playing cards which include tarot decks. It is part of what tarot card readers call the "Minor Arcana", and as the first in the suit of Cups, signifies beginnings in the area of the social and emotional in life....


The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini
Giovanni Paolo Pannini
Giovanni Paolo Panini or Pannini was a painter and architect, who worked in Rome and is mainly known as one of the vedutisti ....

, who substituted the present allegories for planned sculptures of Agrippa and "Trivia", the Roman virgin.


The fountain was refurbished in 1998; the stonework was scrubbed and the fountain provided with recirculating pumps.


The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli
Palazzo Poli
The Palazzo Poli is a palace in Rome, Italy, forming the backdrop to the Trevi Fountain. Luigi Vanvitelli gave it a monumental facade as a setting for the fountain. It was there that Princess Zenaǐde Wolkonsky threw her lavish parties in the 1830s. The central portion of the palace was demolished...

, given a new facade with a giant order
Giant order
In Classical architecture, a giant order is an order whose columns or pilasters span two stories...

 of Corinthian pilasters
Corinthian order
The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order...

 that link the two main stories. Taming of the waters is the theme of the gigantic scheme that tumbles forward, mixing water and rockwork, and filling the small square. Tritons
Triton (mythology)
Triton is a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the big sea. He is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, whose herald he is...

 guide Oceanus' shell chariot, taming hippocamp
The hippocamp or hippocampus , often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek; it became part of Etruscan mythology...


In the centre a robustly-modelled triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

 is superimposed on the palazzo façade. The centre niche or exedra
In architecture, an exedra is a semicircular recess or plinth, often crowned by a semi-dome, which is sometimes set into a building's facade. The original Greek sense was applied to a room that opened onto a stoa, ringed with curved high-backed stone benches, a suitable place for a philosophical...

 framing Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 has free-standing columns for maximal light and shade. In the niches flanking Oceanus, Abundance spills water from her urn and Salubrity holds a cup from which a snake drinks. Above, bas reliefs illustrate the Roman origin of the aqueducts.

The tritons and horses provide symmetrical balance, with the maximum contrast in their mood and poses (by 1730, rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 was already in full bloom in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


Coin throwing

A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. This was the theme of 1954's Three Coins in the Fountain
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954 film)
Three Coins in the Fountain is the 1954 film that introduced the song of the same name, which became an enduring standard. It tells the story of three American girls looking for romance in Rome while employed at the American Embassy...

and the Academy Award winning song by that name which introduced the picture.

An estimated 3,000 euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

s are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy. However, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain.

In popular culture

The Trevi fountain is featured in Respighi
Ottorino Respighi
Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer, musicologist and conductor. He is best known for his orchestral "Roman trilogy": Fountains of Rome ; Pines of Rome ; and Roman Festivals...

's symphonic pictures Fontane di Roma
Fontane di Roma
Fontane di Roma is a 1916 work by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, now considered part of the Roman Trilogy of symphonic poems along with Feste Romane and Pini di Roma. Each of the four sections is meant to depict one of Rome’s fountains during different periods of the day and night...

, and was the setting for an iconic scene in Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

's film La dolce vita
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a 1960 comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed director Federico Fellini. The film is a story of a passive journalist's week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come...

starring Anita Ekberg
Anita Ekberg
Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg is a Swedish model, actress and cult sex symbol. She is best known for her role as Sylvia in the 1960 Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita which features the legendary scene of her cavorting in Trevi Fountain alongside Marcello Mastroianni.-Biography:Ekberg was born in...

 and Marcello Mastroianni
Marcello Mastroianni
Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni, Knight Grand Cross was an Italian film actor. His honours included British Film Academy Awards, Best Actor awards at the Cannes Film Festival and two Golden Globe Awards.- Personal life :...

. The fountain was turned off and draped in black in honor of Mastroianni after the actor's death in 1996. The fountain is used for some scenes in the 1953 film Roman Holiday
Roman Holiday
Roman Holiday is a 1953 romantic comedy directed and produced by William Wyler and starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. It was written by John Dighton and Dalton Trumbo, though with Trumbo on the Hollywood blacklist, he did not receive a credit; instead, Ian McLellan Hunter fronted for him...

starring Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world's most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century...

 and Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

. Part of the fountain is replicated at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot
Epcot is a theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, Florida. The park is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely international culture and technological innovation. The second park built at the resort, it opened on October 1, 1982 and was initially named...

 in Walt Disney World, USA. The fountain itself is also a stage in Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
is a fighting game in the Tekken series and the successor to 1999's Tekken Tag Tournament. The game was released in Japanese arcades on September 14, 2011 and will be released on the PlayStation 3 sometime in 2012...


External links

The fountain is the blue rounded rectangle in the centre of the photo, just west of the Quirinal Palace
Quirinal Palace
The Quirinal Palace is a historical building in Rome, Italy, the current official residence of the President of the Italian Republic. It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the tallest of the seven hills of Rome...


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