october 2008

The Trevi Fountain

Rome - October 2008

We are all familiar with the name, Anita Ekberg bathed in it in the film 'Dolce Vita', and some of us will know the song 'Three Coins in a Fountain'. The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous sights in Rome. Tucked away in a small square where three roads meet (Tre-Via), The Trevi Fountain marks the terminus of the ancient Acqua Vergine Aqueduct.

The story says that in 19 BC a fair virgin discovered a source of fresh water 8 miles (13km) away from the city. From there Marcus Agrippa built the original Aqua Virgo Aqueduct to bring fresh water to his baths. Some four hundred years later the Aqueduct was destroyed, and the Romans had to make do with the polluted water from the River Tiber. In the 15th century, Pope Nicholas V rebuilt the Acqua Vergine Aqueduct, bringing fresh water back to Rome, terminating the Aqueduct in a simple basin.

Originally it was Bernini who designed the first fountain, but that never came to fruition. Later in 1730 Pope Clement XIII organised a competition to design an elaborate fountain. The winner was Nicola Salvi, and that design is the fountain we see today.

The Theme of the Fountain is The Taming of the Waters, with 'Oceanus' the god of water, and the taming of wild sea horses on each side. The fountain is part of one wall of a Palazzo, with the statues and rocks coming directly out of the wall.

It is said that around 3,000 Euros are thrown in the fountain every day. The proceeds fund charities for the underprivileged of Rome.

To View full size click on the image above
The Trevi Fountain
To View full size click on the image above

One of my favourite squares in Rome is the Piazza Navona. Built on the footprint an original chariot race track or Hippodrome, the Piazza has gentle curves at each end. There are two main fountains, the largest being Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain, which unfortunately was under restoration during our visit, and to the north of the Piazza is the Fontana del Nettuno, or Neptune's Fountain.

Another great place to sit and relax are the Spanish Steps along the Piazza di Spagna, which gets its name from a nearby Spanish Embassy. Although it is usually very busy, it is nice to sit and eat a Gelato, or just watch the people go by. The little fountain at the bottom is very cooling, and as with all fountains in Rome, the water is drinkable and free.

Fontana del Nettuno
Spanish Steps
To View full size click on the image above
To View full size click on the image above