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Famous around the world: The Trevi Fountain

In 1730 Pope Clement XII organised a competition for architects to design a fountain and set no specific rules or conditions. Nicola Salvi’s winning design showed the ocean and its divine ruler Neptune. Construction started in 1732, but Salvi never managed to complete it before his death in 1751. Eleven years after the architect passed away the world-famous Trevi Fountain was finally finished.

Trevi Fountain statue article image

The location of the fountain used to be at a crossroads of three roads - the name Trevi literally means three roads. The Baroque style of the fountain can clearly be seen in the lavish profusion of Salvi’s design. It is by far the most famous and largest fountain in Rome with a width of 22 metres and a height of 26 metres. Its central figure is Neptune, the god of the sea, riding a chariot shaped like a large shell that is being pulled by two seahorses. Each seahorse is preceded by a triton (a god from Greek mythology). Look carefully, and you’ll see that one of the horses is calm and obedient, while the other looks much more boisterous. Together they represent the changing moods of the seas.

Lovely tea water

The water in de Trevi Fountain comes from the Acqua Vergine aqueduct; which experts say used to provide the softest and tastiest water in Rome. Large barrels of fountain water were therefore transported to the Vatican every day. Apparently, the water quality was so high that the British living in Rome would use it to make their tea. However, in 1961 the water was declared undrinkable, and nowadays the water in the fountain is purified by pumps.

Marrying a Roman

Trevi Fountain fountain overview article image

The Trevi Fountain is a popular place to throw coins. Tradition says that those who throw a coin into the fountain over their shoulder will definitely return to Rome one day. Two coins guarantees you a meeting with your great love, and three coins will result in marriage with a Roman resident. Fun fact: The coins never stay under water for more than seven days, as they are collected by the Roman municipality each week and donated to charity. The Trevi Fountain has also featured in a variety of films, with the most famous scene being from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. In this blockbuster, the voluptuous Anita Ekberg bathes in the famous fountain.

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