Movie fans will immediately recognize this impressive Baroque fountain depicting the water god Oceanus, which has featured in cinematic classics such as La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday. Legend has it that if you toss a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder into the fountain, you are certain to return to Rome – on average about €3000 is thrown in every day (coins are collected every night and given to an Italian charity called Caritas).
A baroque monumental fountain
Unmissable sight in the city, the Fontana di Trevi is a flamboyant baroque ensemble of mythical figures and wild horses taking up the entire side of the 17th-century Palazzo Poli. It could have been named after the palazzo, but Trevi refers to the tre vie (three roads) that converge at the fountain. The Roman-born architect Nicola Salvi was awarded the project. Work began under Salvi's direction in 1732. Intricately carved out of carrara marble and Travertine stone sourced from nearby Tivoli, the fountain depicts Oceanus, god of water, in the center niche, flanked by Abundance and Salubrity. The sea-god is standing in a shell-shaped chariot being led by Tritons with seahorses – one wild, one docile – representing the moods of the sea. Below the gods are a number of hippocampus and tritons adding symmetry to the fountain. At the top of the fountain sits the Papal Coat of Arms, suspended by angels. Unfortunately, Salvi never saw his fountain completed. The first water came out of the fountain in 1743 but it wasn't until 1762 that a different Pope, Clemens XIII, officially completed and inaugurated the new Trevi Fountain, 11 years after Salvi's death.One of the oldest water sources in Rome With water pumping out of multiple sources and the large pool in front, the fountain spills about 2,824,800 cubic feet of water every day! The water comes from the aqua virgo, a 1st-century-BC underground aqueduct. It was named in honor of a young Roman girl who led thirsty soldiers to the source of the spring to drink.
A movie star
Most famously, Trevi Fountain is where Anita Ekberg cavorted in an iconic black dress in Fellini's classic La Dolce Vita (1960), but was also appeared in several notable films, including the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Sabrina Goes to Rome and Roman Holiday. After a Fendi-sponsored restoration finished in 2015, the fountain gleams brighter than it has for years. As you can expect, the fountain gets very busy during the day; visit later in the evening when it's beautifully lit and you can appreciate its foaming majesty without such great hordes.