A guide to Trevi Fountain in Rome


    The trevi Fountain in Rome is probably one of the biggest, most spectacular fountains in the Eternal city.
    It is one of the essential stops on a visit to the Eternal City that amazes not only for its beauty, but also for its fascinating history.

    The origins of Trevi Fountain

    The origins of Trevi Fountain date back to the 19th Century Bc. When at the beginning, it served as the ending point of the Aqueduct, “Aqua Virgo“. Legend has it that this name was coined by Maco Vispanio Agrippa (founder of many buildings in Imperialistic Rome in the area of Campus Martius surrounding the Trevi Fountain, including the Pantheon). As of Agrippa’s narrations, the Aqueduct was shown to him by a group of thirsty soldiers, returning home after one of the many assignments they would receive from a beautiful woman, a virgin. Hence the name: Aqua Virgo means Virgin waters.

    The first Trevi Fountain has renaissance origins. It was with the supervision of Pope Nicolas the 5th in 1453, that the restorations of the Roman Aqueduct begun, following the plans of two very distinguished architects, Leon Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellini.

    The Fountain however started to take shape only under Pope Urbano the 8th, who assigned its construction to Gian Lorenzo Bernini. As the project took form, the Pope wanted it to be bigger and bigger and even more amazing without counting the fact that it would inevitably take longer, with all the changes and upgrades and it would obviously cost more. Therefore, to make ends meet, he was forced to raise the tax on wine, which created inevitable discontentment among the Roman People. And Bernini was forced to use, in some occasions, the dismantled materials obtained from the previous project. So time, money and energy were all concentrated on this enormous fountain.

    Unfortunately, both the Pope and Bernini did not live long enough to see it finished.

    It was Pope Clemente the 12th, over a hundred years later, to celebrate the Fountain’s conclusions, in May of 1762. And it’s in his honor that an inscription in the center of the Fountain reads “Clemens XII PONT MAX”. And it’s the Architect Giuseppe Pannini who was in charge of ending the fountain’s construction as we see it today: a masterpiece that, you will notice, is encompassed in a portion of the lower façade of a monumental building, Palazzo Poli.

    The statues of the Trevi Fountain

    Adorned from left to right with 4 monumental statues dated 1753:

    • The symbolization of the “Abundance of the Fruits” (by Agostino Corsini)
    • the “Fertility of the Fields” (by Bernardo Ludovisi)
    • the “Autumn Harvest” (by Francesco Queirolo)
    • the “Pleasantness of the meadows” (by Bartolomeo Pincellotti).

    In the center of its majestic niche, you can see the statue of the God of the Seas, standing on a seashell pulled by two winged seahorses, one for each side. The one on the left is raging and it’s driven by the young version Triton, while the seahorse on the right is peaceful and it’s driven by the older version of Triton. An allegorical contribution to the different phases of the human life: Past, Present and Future.

    The Coin toss in the Trevi Fountain and other traditions

    Fountain of Trevi

    Did you ever wonder what is meaning the lies behind such a famous act of tossing a coin into the Fountain?

    Very few know, that one of the main characters that started this modern day tradition is actually a movie: The 1954 “Three coins in the Trevi Fountain” and it recites: Tossing one coin in the Fountain you will return to Rome someday, tossing two coins in the fountain you will find love with an Italian and finally, tossing three coins in the fountain you will marry the Italian you met. Mind you, the prediction is only true if you toss the coins over your left shoulder, with your right hand.

    Another less known legend is the stream of the lovers
    On the side of the fountain you can find a drinking fountain called the Lovers’ stream. With a marble bench to sit and a system of two little sprouts that cross each other, from which young lovers would have to drink.

    The tradition consisted in a glass of water, that the boyfriends would have to drink from, and after pass the empty glass to their girlfriends that would smash the glass, as a pact of fidelity and love.

    Curiosities on the movie “La Dolce Vita” in the Trevi Fountain in Rome
    If you haven’t seen “La Dolce Vita”, you absolutely have to watch it before heading to the Trevi Fountain
    This masterpiece by Federico Fellini was filmed in 1960 and it is one of the most famous movies in the history of Cinema.

    It entails the Dolce Vita, the Sweet life, a real lifestyle in Rome at the end of the 1950s who’s main character is a young, handsome Marcello Mastroianni. One of the most iconic performances in the film is when the beautiful actress Anita Ekberg in the middle of the night, invites Marcello into the Trevi Fountain, where she dived in fully dressed, in a black cocktail dress and golden hair swaying on her shoulders.

    “Marcello, come here. Hurry up!” is how she would invite him in the fountain to take a swim with her, in that movie. A fun fact: this part of the movie was filmed between February and March. Marcello Mastroianni was extremely sensitive to cold, and the water in the Trevi Fountain was freezing. He was resistant to go on with this particular scene, and took some convincing by handing him a wetsuit, to wear under his clothes. But Anita Ekberg, a Swedish actress, who was clearly used to cold temperatures, stood in the freezing cold waters of the Trevi fountain for a really long time, without complaining.

    As master Fellini later revealed in an interview for an Italian Newspaper: “When we were filming the scene at night, there were people everywhere, on the balconies, on the roofs surrounding the Trevi Fountain. Half of Rome was there that night, in the freezing cold weather, just for that scene… To convince Marcello to get in the water we had to dress him up as a scuba diver. But after some time in the water, he couldn’t resist any longer. So he powered through, by drinking an entire a bottle of vodka, to keep him warm. Little did we know, during that entire scene in the movie, Marcello Mastroianni was completely drunk!”

    Other curiosities about Trevi Fountain: The stories behind the Ace of Cups
    Adjacent to the Fountain, you can find a sculpture, that Romans call The Ace of Cups. One of the many fun, interesting and mysterious things involving the sculptures in Rome. But why is it so relevant?

    It seems that during the early years of restorations, there was an old barber shop, right next to the Trevi Fountain, on the square. And the barber could not stop complaining about it. Let’s just say that he did not approve of its entire design… So one of the Fountain’s Architects, a certain Mr. Salvi, had a sculpture made and placed it in front of his Barbershop, to obstruct the views of the Trevi Fountain.

    The Ace of Cups is an affectionate name coined by the Romans in the neighborhood that knew about the story behind the statue. But it isn’t at all a Cup per se: in fact, that the sculpture is of one of the containers that Barbers used to store their instruments in, at the time.

    After the sculpture was erected, peace was restored, and the Trevi Fountain continued to take form into the brilliant, beautiful work of art we all know and love today.

    Was it the Architect’s courtesy? Or was it a satire aimed at the poor grouchy barber? Who knows. The matter of fact is that Roman masterpieces are to be found in the most unexpected places and the meaning behind some of them is mind boggling for sure.

    There are so many curiosities surrounding the Fountain. Like have you noticed that there aren’t birds anywhere near the pools and waterfalls? Rome is notoriously infested with pigeons and Seagulls. So why is it that we never see one land on top of Neptune? It’s quite simple really: The entire fountain and its figures are electrified! Small shocks, harmless really. Just to scare the birds away, to preserve the Trevi Fountains hygiene and beauty.
    As you can see The Trevi Fountain is more than a monumental stop a tourist has to make when in Rome. There are many curiosities and facts behind its entire history, that make for a beautiful guided experience.

    you may be interested:

    Rome by night

    We will pick you up at your hotel or restaurant, for this Private Rome By Night Tour. You can feel the charming atmosphere of this romantic city among the monuments, over the Capitol Hill, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, the unmissable Trevi Fountain and the Vatican City for the breathtaking view of St. Peter’s Basilica illuminated. Then, you will continue onto the Gianicolo Hill for an unforgettable view over the monumental, ancient Rome on the other bank of the Tiber River. From here, you can admire Piazza Navona, a fashionable and crowded meeting point for Romans, or decide to stroll around and explore Testaccio District, the best place in the city to eat a very good pizza and have a traditional glass of Italian wine. Get inspired, by the magic of the Eternal City. In the cobble stone streets, you can only hear the water simmering from the fountains in every hidden corner of every alley.

    price from €56.50

    Ancient Imperial Rome

    For this Ancient Rome tour, your personal tour driver will pick you up at the pier of your Cruise ship in Civitavecchia. You’ll enjoy an exclusive guided tour of the Colosseum, to learn all about the Ancient Romans history, traditions and customs, walking through the arches and columns. Next, the Roman Forum. The first Roman civilization began here. Legendary for its contribution in politics and Christianity’s evolution, it became the commercial center of ancient Rome. This tour also features other sites of ancient Rome! Such as the Arch of Constantine and Piazza Del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo. After your morning guided tour, your driver will be happy to recommend one of the best, typical Roman restaurants or “Trattorias” in the area. You will then reach the beautiful Pantheòn, the most well-preserved and influential building of ancient Rome! Last but not least, you will drive to the ancient Appian Way where you will have the chance to stop and visit one of the famous Catacombs located in the area. These catacombs are so fascinating, you will really find their story are intriguing, In some areas of Underground Rome, you will find miles-long tunnels in Catacombs that are even 4 stories-deep. After such an exciting experience in the depths of Rome, you will return to Civitavecchia Port.

    price from €112.50

    Best of Rome and Vatican

    The perfect arrangement for a memorable time in Rome & Vatican! Your private tour driver will take you to see the most amazing venues. First off, Piazza Venezia to admire The Monument of the first Italian king. Furthermore, there’s Mussolini’s balcony, the Capitoline Hill (one of Rome’s seven legendary hills) and the Roman Forum. Make sure not to miss the Colosseum! After that, you’ll head to the Pantheòn, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and enjoy the outstanding view of Rome from the Pincio Terrace, and Piazza Navona. Enjoy a delicious lunch in a typical Roman restaurant, happily recommended by your driver, for a delicious meal. After lunch, your private tour of the Vatican city will begin. You will meet with your personal guide and enjoy a private guided tour of the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. There are different wings of the Vatican to visit, like Cortile Della Pigna, Belvedere, Gallery of Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries or the Gallery of Maps. Depending on the number of visits in a day, some wings might be closed. Above all, visit the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s! In conclusion, after a spectacular tour, you’ll enjoy a nice ride back to the pier

    price from €112.50

    Highlights of Rome

    The Highlights of Rome on this excursion from Civitavecchia Port! Your English tour driver will welcome you at your dock in Civitavecchia Port. As you get closer to the City, he will give you all the interesting information on the City while you’ll notice the presence of more and more historical sites as the Pyramid of Caius Cestius, the Circus Maximus, and the Palatine Hill. Once in Rome you’ll explore sites such as the Colosseum (if you’d like to visit the Colosseum on the inside, we can arrange that! Book entrance tickets through us for an additional cost, upon request), the Capitoline Hill, the Amazing Pantheòn and of course, the Trevi Fountain. Toss a coin over your shoulder and into the fountain. Make a wish for good luck! For lunch, why not stop in a local place in one of the best quaint, romantic neighborhoods there are like Trastevere, or Campo de Fiori. Last but not least, you’ll visit Saint Peter’s Basilica! One of the Holiest places on Earth! Admire its High Renaissance and baroque architecture. With its greatness of art and golden details, marble and mosaics, the atmosphere is overwhelming. Be sure not to miss Michelangelo’s Pieta, completed when the master was only in his 20s. After the tour, your tour driver will escort you back to your cruise ship.

    price from €87.50

    Rome Full Day Tour

    Your English speaking tour driver will welcome you at your hotel or any other place of your convenience for this private Rome full day tour. Start your Rome full day tour with a visit to 19th century Piazza Venezia. Where you’ll see Vittorio Emanuele II monument, also known as the “the wedding cake”, because of its distinctive shape. Capitol Hill and Roman Forum are perfect, to enjoy the breath taking scenery of Rome. And the magnificent Piazza Del Campidoglio, commissioned by Pope Paul III IS A MUST SEE. Not very far away from here, there is the Jewish ghetto where you can explore the interesting history of the Jewish community in Rome. After visiting so many wonderful locations, you will finally arrive at Piazza Navona. The most extravagant of Rome’s Square, adorned with the fountain of The Four Rivers by Bernini, and the church of his rival, Borromini. Visit Piazza Della Rotonda, where you can see the Pantheon, the best preserved and enchanting monument of ancient times. You’ll continue with a stop in the Aventine Hill, for a picture-perfect view of the Eternal City. Next Circus Maximus, where chariot races were performed in imperial Rome, as we can see in one of the classic American movies, Ben Hur. Then off to the Coliseum, could contain 50,000 spectators to watch fights between beast and men, gladiatorial contests, races, and naval battles. Have lunch time in a typical Italian restaurant on the Appian Way. You can enjoy specialties of the Roman cuisine far away from the tourist-beaten locations. At the end of tour, will you take you to is the Catacombs. *Upon request, a local official guide can be provided for this tour. The price of the guide will be determined based on your specific interests and needs.

    price from €87.50