“Rome has many highlights least of which is the Trevi Fountain. This Baroque masterpiece is crammed into a small square in the centre of old Rome. To throw a coin in the fountain guarantees that you will return to Rome again, or so it is believed, and millions of tourist throw €3000 into the fountain every day. Immortalised by Fellini it is one of the most spectacular fountains in the world. I hope you enjoy the photos”. Paul Williams
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The Iconic Trevi Fountain
One of the great Iconic buildings of Rome is the Trevi Fountain. It is a masterpiece of the Baroque and to the art of fountain building.
The Trevi gets its name from a derivation of “Tres Vie”, three roads, where 3 Roman aqueducts ended in Rome. It was traditional for the Romans to build fountains at the end of aqueducts and the custom was revived in the fifteenth century when Pope Nicholas V built a simple fountain basin on the site.
By 1629 the Baroque was in full swing and Rome had embraced the style with great enthusiasm. Baroque was an extravagant style adopted with great fervour by the Roman Catholic Church in opposition to the puritanical style of Protestants that was threatening Catholicism in northern Europe. The Vatican was given a Baroque makeover and fountains throughout the city were transformed and Rome was transformed into a great Baroque city.
In 1730 Pope Clement XII commissioned Nicola Salvi to build the Trevi fountain. After the death of Salvi in 1751, Guiseppe Pannini continued work on the fountain finishing it in 1762.
In order for the fountain design to work and fit into the square the Palazzo Poli, that backs the fountain, was partially demolished and given a new facade. The centre of the fountain is framed by an arch with giant Corinthian columns that had become fashionable in Venetian Baroque of the period. The theme of the fountain is the taming of the sea and the giant columns frame the central figure of Neptune. To his right Neptune watches a Triton who struggles to subdue a sea horse and on Neptune’s other side, another Triton blows his horn holding the reigns of a seahorse standing quietly behind him. This symbolises the stormy and tranquil moods of the seas. Water gushes from rocks all over the fountain cascading into a huge pond.
Tradition says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi fountain you will return to Rome. Visitors must really like Rome and desperately want to return, because each day €3000 is thrown into the Trevi fountain which subsidises a supermarket for the poor. The permanent Police presence at the fountain is to stop thieves taking the coins as much as stopping couples copying actors Anita Ekberg and Marcell Mastroianni, who famously took a romantic paddle in the Trevi Fountain at night in a scene in Fellini’s Iconic film La Dolce Vita.
The Trevi Fountain and the Palazzo that backs it make combine to make the most beautiful and spectacular fountains in Rome. The Trevi fountain is a Baroque icon, an icon in films as well as an icon for romantic visitors to Rome from all around the world.