Trevi Fountain Rome Italy - a short history

The most famous of Roman landmarks and possibly its most beautiful is the Fontana di Trevi, located in the Piazza di Trevi. Two legends surround it. Firstly, it was said that a virgin came across a small spring (tre-vie) and caused the original fountain to be built. Secondly, if you throw a coin over our shoulder with your back to it, you will come back to Rome, so have your change handy.

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A short history of The Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

The inspiration for its design probably came from its proximity to the Via del Tritone or road of the Tritons. These are mythological creatures with the body of a man and a fish from the waist down.

The Trevi Fountain, spectacular by daylight

Historically, the fountain is at the end of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct built in 19 B.C. to bring water from the Salone Springs to Rome. It would also supply water to all the fountains in historical centre of Rome. Being at the end of a principal source of water supply for the city and its fountains could have played a role in the choice of building a fountain in the square, otherwise too small.

The architect Bernini made the first attempt at the behest of Pope Urban VIII in the early 17th century, but it was only in 1732 that the Pope Clement XII commissioned Nicola Salvi to build a large and impressive fountain. There is no record of Bernini's original design, but Salvi's is based very much on it. Unfortunately, construction was only completed 30 years later during the papacy of Clement XIII.

If you had to choose one adjective to describe the fountain, it would be monumental. No expense and idea was spared. The central figure is the Roman god of the sea, Neptune. He is riding in a chariot shaped like a shell that two sea horses are pulling. A triton is guiding each sea horse and blowing a conch, the symbol of stirring or calming seas and rivers. The presence of two sea horses, one obedient and the other restive, and two tritons blowing conches symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea.

Apart from the statue of Neptune, there are 3 other ones, namely Abundance representing 'full supply' on his left, Salubirty denoting 'heathfulness' on his right and Agrippa above him; she is the girl after whom the aqueduct is named.

At night this splendid masterpiece is lit up by floodlight. The atomshere it creates is indescribable.

Its legendary and mythological status ensured that it would be immortalized in film and the Italian director Federico Fellini was the perfect vehicle by choosing Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (1959).

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