The Trevi Fountain - History and Facts | History Hit

The Trevi Fountain

Rome, Lazio, Italy

The Trevi Fountain is Rome’s largest and most iconic fountain.

Peta Stamper

07 Mar 2023
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain (Fountain di Trevi) is an iconic 18th century monument in Rome. A stunning depiction of ancient deities and resplendent with frescos of legends and myths, the Trevi Fountain attracts floods of tourists keen to throw their coins into its waters to assure their return to Rome – or so goes the myth.

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The Trevi Fountain history

Located in Rome’s Trevi district abutting the palazzo Poli, the Trevi Fountain was built on the site of an earlier fountain that was demolished in the 17th century. The Trevi Fountain marks the intersection of three major Roman roads – from which it gains the name ‘Trivium’ – and was the terminus of the Acqua Vergine. Revived from the Aqua Virgo of ancient Rome, this ancient aqueduct once served the Baths of Agrippa.

In 1629, Pope Urban VIII commissioned a new fountain on the site as he thought the original dull. The project was paused until Pope Clement XII organised a contest in 1730 for a new designer. Nicola Salvi was awarded the task despite having lost, the winner was a Florentine and the people of Rome cried out for a Roman designer.

Construction of the Travertine stone fountain began in 1732, and 4 different sculptors were hired to complete the Baroque-style decorations. Giuseppe Pannini was hired as architect who finished the fountain in 1762 so that it displayed sculptures of Agrippa and Trivia, the Roman virgin. The fountain was officially opened on 22 May by Pope Clement XIII.

From the late 1980s, the Trevi has had numerous restorations and refurbishment to remove smog discolouration and repair small areas of deterioration. The fountain also starred in several notable films, including Roman Holiday (1953), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), and The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003).

The Trevi Fountain today

Any trip to Rome is not complete without visiting the 85 foot tall Trevi Fountain to throw a euro over your left shoulder into the fountain’s clear pool. The backdrop of the fountain is the Palazzo Poli with its dramatic facade of Corinthian pilasters.

The story told by the fountain is one of ‘taming the waters’, and you can see the tumbling design over rock and water that includes Neptune towering over Tritons, another Greek god of the sea, on a shell chariot taming the hippocamps or sea-horses. If you want a particularly spectacular view, return to the fountain at nighttime to see it lit up by over 100 lights.

Getting to The Trevi Fountain

If using Rome’s metro which is advised, the Trevi Fountain is an 8 minute walk from Berberini – Fontana di Trevi or Spagna stops. There is a bus station around the corner at L.Go Chigi from which major Roman bus lines run including the 51, 52, 53, 62, 63 and 71 lines.

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