Rome is known as the city of fountains, there are about 280 of them across this magnificent city, but we can safely say that the Trevi Fountain is queen of all Roman fountains. It became world famous because of the scene in the film ‘La Dolce Vita’, when the ravishing Swedish actress Anita Ekberg jumped into the fountain and invited Marcello Mastroianni to join her. The story is that the film was shot in the winter time, and that it took Mastroianni a couple of glasses of vodka to enter the water, while Ekberg did her part without problems (probably because she was Sweedish).
Fountain was built in the 18th century, by order of Pope Clement XII on the site that already had one but in simplified form that dated back to 15th century. The whole area is dominated by Neptune sculpture, managing the carriage which is pulled by two sea horses, while sculpture left to Neptune represents abundance and the good health. The water in front of the sculpture symbolizes the sea. This water comes from the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, which is delivered here from a source twenty kilometers from the city.
The same aqueduct is used to fill many other fountains in the center of Rome. The legend says that if you want to come back to Rome, you have to turn your back to the fountain, put the coin in your right hand and toss it in the water over your left shoulder.
If by chance you throw two, you will fall in love, while “Three coins in the fountain” (the title of the film from 1954), you will be married. Guided by this superstition, tourists every day throw in thousands and thousands of coins of different colors and forms in this huge baroque fountain.
By the evening there is so much coins in Trevi Fountain that people in charge literally have to use shovels to remove them. This happens early in the morning, while tourists sleep, and workers come in rubber boots to “clean” fountain of “earned” goods. Water stops for an hour, which allows the workers to collect coins and take them away in sacks. On the stone bottom of this famous Roman landmarks, on average of three thousand euro per day gets collected. When this figure gets multiplied by 365 days in a year, you get a considerable annual income.
If you are wondering who gets this money the answer is more than pleasing. The exclusive right to use disposed coins from the fountain has a charitable Catholic organization “Caritas”, which use it to feed the Roman poor in public kitchens. Taking coins from the fountain is illegal, but that did not stop many to try. There is a story about Roberto C. known as D’Artagnan, who came six times a week to the fountain from 1968 until 2002, with a large magnet, which resembled a sword and “collected” prey. When D’Artagnan from Rome due to public pressure, was finally forbidden to take money from the Trevi Fountain, he cut his stomach in protest, because he was deprived of income.