on January 7, 2012
So - on the big list for Rome, after Vatican City and the Colloseaum, what next? Well - for many the answer to that question is Trevi Fountain. The stunning 85 foot high fountain is one of the most famous in the world. Finished in 1762 - the fountain really is a stunning example of the art in Rome, and something I could hardly suggest shouldn't be seen on a visit to the city, even if architecture is not your thing. However - I do have to also mention that the Trevi Fountain marks one of the tourist attractions which is so profoundly overcrowded with tourists that it gives the city a reputation for being unpleasantly crowded and hard to visit. I have to say that I didn't find this to be the case at all - in October at least - thought Rome a city of breezy atmosphere and a rather relaxed size. In some ways it reminded me of Edinburgh - with the stately old grandeur, but a sense of style and relaxation not common in cities. However - this image was shattered in a few of the most popular tourist spots, and Trevi Fountain was one of the worst examples of this. It sits at a three way cross road and in recent times has become an absolute tourist trap. The glorious old fountain is surrounded by cheasy t-shirt and souvenir shops and you'll literally have to push your way in to find a spot to see up close, or toss a coin in. However - it is worth it for a brief glance at something that is profoundly beautiful. However, do avoid it in the middle of the day if possible. Even in October the weather was sweltering in Rome at midday and the fountain was overfllowing with people around it. It was distinctly hard to move and we roasted once we finally got near it. You should also be especially aware of picpockets here as it's one the places where they frequent the most. But - it's also worth mentioning in a city of pricy tourist sites, there's no cost at all to see this one. On one of my last days in Rome I passed a post card stand which had an image of the Trevi Fountain at night - all lit up. I hardly recognized it at first with so few people near it, and though I didn't hope to find it as unpopulated as the photo, I was hoping for a bit more breathing room so that I could actually stand back and enjoy the view. Alas - I never had the time to get back and see it at night, and that has since become top of my list of things to do when I return to Rome. I can't say I enjoyed my visit to Trevi Fountain more than other bits of Rome - I enjoyed the quiet streets and cafes and stunning building two streets over more simply for the peace they offered me to soak up the atmopshere of such a beautiful city. However - to see it at night, or if you can find a rare moment when it's not so crowded is a rare and precious experience indeed, and one worth striving for.
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