…or, as we might know it, the Trevi Fountain!
The fountain as we know it was officially opened in 1762 by Pope Clemens XIII. The modern fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in the early 1730’s and it was built by Pietro Bracci. In between the design and building stage, many different fingers were in the pot, making the design of the fountain what we see today – a marble masterpiece.
The fountain’s history goes back to Ancient Rome, however, when it was the termination of an aqueduct (a structure that carried water to Rome from outside sources, sometimes a distance of many miles). The aqueduct endured damage and abandonment throughout its history, but due to the tradition of popes commissioning richly decorated fountains for these aqueduct terminations, this site started to become what we know it as today.
Many famous figures of the Roman art world – specifically the Renaissance – were involved in the design and development of the Trevi Fountain project, such as Leon Battista Alberti (who famously designed the golden doors on the Florence baptistry), Bernini (famous for his sensuous sculptures and attention to realism), and the aforementioned Pietro Bracci, a renowned architect in his own right.
Today, tourists throw coins into the water of the fountain to grant wishes – though the real legend goes that if one throws a coin and/or drinks the water of the fountain (something I wouldn’t recommend, just because… diseases) then that person is sure to return to Rome. If you do want to drink the water, don’t drink it out of the fountain itself! There are pipes on the steps that you are sure to have more luck with, and that you are actually allowed to drink from.
The Fontana di Trevi is one of Rome’s most famous landmarks, and like most things in Rome has an extensive and rich history that stretches back almost to Rome’s beginnings.
Fun fact: the tradition of throwing coins in fountains dates from Ancient Rome, when travelers would throw a coin in a river or fountain as an offering to the gods to ensure a safe journey.