Trevi Fountain, Symbol of the Eternal City

 

The ancient fountains of the historic squares in Rome continue to be the subject of awe and admiration on the part of millions of tourists who visit the Eternal City every day. Romans have had a long and lasting relationship with water since ancient Roman times. A relationship that is reveals itself precisely in the majesty of its fountains. For Romans, water was a gift from the gods, and every fountain had a divine protector, a nymph. The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous and renown fountains in the whole world because of its scenic sculptures.

It seems as though its name derives from a popular name that was common in the middle of the 12th century (Trivii), or from the three water outlets of the original fountain (because treviii derives from Latin meaning three). Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII in 1640,on occasion of the expansion of the square, the Tuscan architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed a new fountain oriented towards the present, whose construction is limited to an exedra base with a frontal basin, attached onto the buildings in the square, encased onto Palazzo Poli. The construction phase of the Trevi Fountain was carried out by Pope Clement XII, who in 1732 opened a contest for the construction of the great water monument, in which many great artists participated. Among the various projects presented, the pope chose the architect Nicola Salvi, who took Pope Urban VII and Bernini’s idea, which was that of narrating a story through sculpture architecture. They told the story of L’acqua Vergine, the ancient Roman aqueduct built by the Roman architect and politician, Agrippa. The construction was then completed by Giuseppe Pannini, who partially modified the rock by regulating the central basins. 

The theme of the composition is the sea. Shaped like an arch of triumph, with a deep niche, the fountain slopes down towards the main, large basin with a large rock cliff, which comes to life by the sculptural representation of a plethora of plants and by the spectacular flow of water. A large statue stands at the center, representing the Roman god, Ocean, riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by one angry horse and one calm one, restrained by two Tritons. There are several decorational signs and allegorical figures related to the benefits of water, that allude to the history of the aqueduct. The fountain was recently restored, made possible by the Fendi for Fountains initiative with the sponsorship of Fendi, the major fashion house. November 3rd of last year was the first time its waters were flowing after 17 months of construction work.

How could we forget that the Trevi Fountain, as the setting was the protagonist of the memorable scene in the famous Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, in which the provocative Anita Ekberg, jumps into the waters of the fountain, wrapped in a black dress, calling out to Marcello Mastroianni. While on your visit, before walking away, do not forget to throw a coin in if you want to return to Rome again, if you are in search of love, perhaps Italian love, then throw in two coins, and to be sure that you’ll tie the knot soon, legend says you should throw in three coins!