As one of the most picturesque and famous fountains in Rome, the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is a must-see for any visitor in Rome.
The current fountain was designed in the Baroque style in 1732, and is annexed onto one side of Palazzo Poli as the final part of one of the first Roman aqueducts, which we’ll find out about below
Today, Trevi Fountain is also recognized as the backdrop for many books and movies. This includes the film, La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, with its most famous scene featuring Anita Ekberg in the fountain's basin.
Because the Trevi Fountain is the meeting point of three roads (it is where the word, “Trevi” comes from) the fountain attracts many visitors every day. Our Rome Tours will accompany you as you discover this beautiful fountain for yourself.
The Trevi Fountain’s origins date all the way back to 19 BC For the Ancient Romans, the Trevi Fountain served as the end to the early Roman aqueduct, Aqua Virgo. It served as a major source of water for hundreds of years. But the design of this particular fountain was not to last past the Renaissance.
In 1629 the Trevi Fountain saw changes under Pope Urban VIII. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was hired to design the new, more dramatic fountain, but the project ended once the pope died in 1644.
The beautiful fountain we know today was designed around a century later, in 1732. Pope Clement XII hired Nicola Salvi, because of his winning design, and showed the now famous center arch, statues, and rock formations. Salvi’s work would continue and be completed under Giuseppe Pannini in 1762, building under Salvi’s original theme, “Taming of the Waters”.
The Trevi Fountain is actually the largest fountain in Rome. The fountain measures in at 26.30 m high and 49.15 m wide, filling up the square around it.
The Fountain itself, made from Travertine stone (the same material used for the Colosseum), features many statues, including Oceanus at the center. Oceanus is shown standing on a chariot, pulled by sea horses as the water gushes below, further showing Salvi’s original theme.
On the left side of Oceanus is the statue of Abundance, and on the right, a statue of Health. Each is holding their own respective symbols of their field (Abundance holds fruit, Health a snake). Why Abundance and Health? Their presence on the Trevi Fountain is because they both show how water is beneficial for the Earth.
The Trevi Fountain is not the only place where a snake was used as a sign of healing. On Tiber Island, there is a temple devoted to Aesculapius, the Greek god of healing. In 293 B.C., when there was a plague in Rome, the island was seen as a place of protection from the plague. The symbol for Aesculapius is a snake, which is depicted on the temple.
As this project was commissioned by the Vatican, the Papal Coat of Arms is also included at the top of the fountain, surrounded by angels.
The Trevi Fountain has recently been restored due to the contribution of the fashion house, Fendi, in 2013. (It has “been restored to its former splendor and cleaned illuminated with lights that enhance its beauty.”)
Despite opening to mixed reviews, the 1960 film, “La Dolce Vita” has since been immortalized since its premiere. The movie, “La Dolce Vita”, or “the sweet life” filmed its scenes on location in Rome, passing many sites. But one of the most iconic scenes (in the film and in film history) occurred at the Trevi Fountain, with Anita Ekberg following Marcello Mastroianni into the fountain.
But the reality of shooting this iconic scene onto film was not as romantic. Although Ekberg had no trouble wading in the Trevi Fountain’s cold water for hours, it was Mastroianni that had to wear a wetsuit under his clothes and “polish off a bottle of vodka” in order to shoot the scene in March.
Although trying to duplicate Anita Ekberg’s stroll in the Trevi Fountain is prohibited (at any time of the year), the La Dolce Vita Stroll will let you step inside the film set of “La Dolce Vita” in an evening stroll.
For many, no trip to Rome would be complete without throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain.
This practice became popular with the 1954 film, “Three Coins in the Fountain”. According to the legend, any visitor that throws one coin over their shoulder into the fountain will return to Rome in the future.
About three thousand euros are thrown into the Trevi Fountain every day. Because of this, as of 2007 all of the money collected has been given to charity.
Is the legend real? Try it out and see for yourself.
Monday-Sunday- Always open
The Trevi Fountain is often crowded during the daytime. See the Trevi Fountain once the crowds leave with the following tours:
Take note: when they encourage you not to swim, they mean it. In March 2018, two men were fined 900 euros for swimming in the fountain.
The Trevi Fountain is one of the earliest water sources in Rome, drawing from the Aqua Virgo aqueduct which was built during the Age of Augustus in 19 BC.
The fountain facade, made over 1700 years later, is also famous in and of itself. Its stunning statues and travertine facing make for a visually magnificent monument, earning it appearances in such films as Fellini's La Dolce Vita and - rather more recently - the Lizzie McGuire Movie.
The Trevi Fountain stands at the end of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct at the terminus of three roads. The Italian for three is tre and for roads is vie, which abbreviated becomes trevie or trevi.
Hence its literal meaning is the Three Streets Fountain.
'The Taming of the Waters' is the Trevi Fountain's theme.
Nicola Salvi envisaged a series of Travertine statues which narrated a story. At the center stands Oceanus borne atop a chariot pulled by two sea horses. One is docile; the other wild, representing the two conflicting moods of the sea.
To the left of the Oceanus is the personification of Abundance, above which you see a depiction of Marcus Agrippa ordering his generals to construct the Aqua Virgo aqueduct.
To the right is Health, crowned with laurels and holding a cup from which snakes - symbols of Asklepius, the Greek god of healing - are drinking.
The four statues on either side of the inscription above the fountain symbolize the beneficial effects brought by rainfall. From left to right you have: Abundance (this time of fruits) holding a cornucopia; Fertility of Crops holding ears of wheat; the Fruits of Autumn bearing a cup and bunch of grapes; and the Joy of the Fields and Gardens, covered with flowers.
The Trevi Fountain is about as central as it gets, forever gushing its waters right in the heart of the Campus Martius.
Less than 5 minutes' away to the right of the fountain are the Spanish Steps; 5 minutes the other way is the Pantheon.
Head south and you'll find yourself ascending the Quirinal Hill, while if you turn left facing the fountain and keep walking towards the main Via del Corso you'll find yourself smack bang in the middle between Piazza Venezia and Piazza del Popolo.
Once the sun goes down the Trevi Fountain lights up.
After sunset is also the best time to visit the monument, as most of the day's crowds have dispersed.