The Trevi Fountain, or Fontana di Trevi in Italian, is Italy’s largest and most famous Baroque fountain, standing 26 meters high and 49 meters across. Baroque art, a popular European art form between 1600 and 1750, is characterized by highly ornate and decorative art and architecture. The fountain can be found in Rome's Piazza di Trevi in the Quirinale district, easily reached by bus or Metro.
A group of roman soldiers was in search for a spring near Rome. The spring was found after a young virgin showed them the source, thus the name of the aqueduct.
The initial Trevi fountain was built in the 15th century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo, the aqueduct built in 19 B.C. that brought fresh water into the Baths of Agrippa. The water comes from Salone Springs, 13 km outside of the city, but the length of the aqueduct is about 22 km. This initial Trevi fountain was commissioned in 1453 to the architect Leon Battista Alberti by Pope Nicholas V.
In 1629, Pope Urban VIII consulted Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a prominent Italian sculptor and architect, to suggest ways to embellish the initial Trevi fountain but Pope Urban VIII died before his aspirations to improve the fountain could be realized.
In 1730 Pope Clement XII established a contest to design a new fountain.Nicola Salvi won the contest and started to build the fountain. Building began in 1732 and concluded three decades later. Before his death in 1751, Salvi chose young artist Giuseppe Pannini as his successor.
The fountain that stands today has work expressed in the original sketches from Bernini, Salvi and Pannini. The fountain was finished by Giuseppe Pannini and on 22 May 1762, the fountain was oficially inaugurated.
Water flows from the mouth of the dominating figure Oceanus, god of all waters standing atop a shell-shaped chariot drawn by two sea horses and two tritons. The horses represent the changing mood of the sea. The larger statue on the left is a representation of the goddess Abundance, above whom is a bas-relief depiction of Agrippa, and on the right is the god Salubrity, topped by a representation of the virgin directing soldiers toward the water.
Tossing a coin into Trevi Fountain, according to legend, will guarantee a return trip to Rome. The fountain is swept daily, and the money is donated to Caritas, an Italian charity. In 2006, BBC News reported that an estimated 3,000 euros was collected each night.
The Trevi Fountain has appeared in famous films, securing itself a place in popular culture. It can be seen in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and the 1953 Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn movie “Roman Holiday.”
Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Rome, Italy
Metro Line A - Station Barberini, Buses