on March 2, 2010
Few fountains have inspired as much awe as Trevi Fountain in Rome. Not only has it played a central part in two movies, its legend has caused millions of visitors to throw coins over their shoulders in the hopes of returning to the Eternal City, which is Rome. From its beginning, The Fontana di Trevi has been all about the drama. A delightful Baroque confection, the Trevi Fountain has been wowing travelers since 1732, and has no plans for stopping.Its LegendAlthough most people are aware of the Trevi legend: throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, and you will return one day to Rome, not everyone knows the proper ritual. To ensure your Roman holiday is not a one-time event, the proper way to ensure success is to take the coin in your right hand and toss the coin over your left shoulder, standing with your back to the fountain. Some advocate throwing two coins: one for a return to Rome and one for your wish. In any case, these coins go to a good cause; nearly 120,000 Euros are collected each year from the Trevi and donated to charity.Inspiration for MoviesThis coin-tossing legend has not only inspired travelers from hundreds of countries to participate, but it was also inspiration for the first color film in Cinemascope to be produced on location. In 1954, "Three Coins in a Fountain" starring Clifton Webb, Jean Peters, and Louis Jourdan, was made, enticing thousands to visit the city.Others have been inspired by the romantic scene from "La Dolce Vita," in which Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastrioanni splash merrily in the Trevi. Be aware that any movie buffs or lovebirds seeking to recreate the scene today will be met by Italian police who guard the Trevi Fountain 24/7 and can slap a 500 Euro fine on trespassers.History of the TreviThe Trevi Fountain is an acquatic marvel in a city full of outstanding structures. Even in a city of fountains, however, few match the majesty of the Trevi. Roman fountains dot the landscape and are a holdover from the age of ancient aqueducts. The Trevi itself marks the end point of the ancient Acqua Vergine, which was created in 18 BC by Agrippa.In the case of the Trevi, its unique status is largely the result of its location at the confluence of three streets ("tre via" in Italian), which gives the fountain its name. In addition, this spectacular fountain emerges from an unlikely location...the back of a palace, the Palazzo Poli. This idea was first envisioned by the artists Gian Lorenzo Bernini & Pietro da Cortona for Pope Urban VIII who planned to rebuild the fountain. However, it was not until 3 popes later that Nicolo Salvi would finally begin the work, winning the design competition for Pope Clement XIII. Unfortunately, however, Salvi did not live to see his masterpiece reach completion. While working in the aqueducts, the architect caught cold and died.Yet, the Trevi Fountain remains today as it was in 1762 at its completion: a massive cascade of water, dominated by Neptune, standing on a chariot led by winged horses. The Baroque whimsy does not stop there, with gushing water showcasing a range of sea shells, writhing sea beasts, and enchanting mermaids. With a huge basin set amidst a busy intersection of three roads, which converge at its piazza, the Trevi Fountain is a showstopper for tourists and Italians alike. Few who see Trevi Fountain will ever forget its wonderful display, and more than a few are hoping that the coin trick works, and they can return one day to the beautiful city of Rome.
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