Souvenirs from Rome, Italy
The magnificent Trevi Fountain in Italy’s capital, Rome is a 26-meter high Baroque masterpiece and one of the most popular wishing wells in the world. Its splendid symbolic carvings and its theatrical design make it Rome’s everlasting landmark. The fountain is currently situated at the junctions of three roads and used to be one of the endpoints of the Ancient Roman water supply system. Legends claim the Romans found a well of pure water outside the city with the help of a beautiful virgin and so the Aqua Virgo aqueduct was created to transport the water directly into the Baths of Agrippa; it was the birth of the later Trevi Fountain. Today visitors marvel at its stunning beauty and impressive design: tossing a coin or simply admiring the Trevi Fountain is a good reason to revisit the Eternal City; a resin fridge magnet souvenir rightfully celebrates this iconic masterpiece.
The Making of the Trevi Fountain
The sophisticated water supply system of the Ancient Rome was destroyed during the Goth invasion and in the Middle Ages the Romans used the Tiber River as the main water source. During the Renaissance, the ancient tradition of building fountains to mark the main aqueducts of the City was revived and supported by the Church. In 1453 it was Pope Nicholas V’s idea of designing a simple fountain in order to re-use the old Aqua Virgo aqueduct. In 1629 Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned by Pope Urban VII to improve the fountain’s design but the project was never completed due to the Pope’s death. Throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the fountain’s remaking was subject to competitions; finally in 1730, Nicola Salvi was the winner of a controversial contest organized by Pope Clement XII and the construction works started in 1732. The fountain was finished in 1762 when its most important element – Neptun, the God of Sea – was finally added to the structure. Giuseppe Pannini was the artist who finally completed the work and changed the main theme to Agrippa and the Roman virgin of Trivia.
Rome’s Most Beautiful Fountain
The fountain combines themes such as the Taming of the Waters (with superbly detailed rockwork) and the Neptun’s Chariot with allegorical scenes and mythical figures decorating the rich carvings of the fountain. The statues of Abundance and Health both celebrate the virtues of water whereas splendid bas-reliefs tell the story of the Ancient Roman aqueducts. The symbolism of the Trevi Fountain resolves around the central figure of Neptun – Oceanus, the God of Sea, depicted in his chariot surrounded by Tritons and driven by two seahorses (a docile one and a wild one) suggesting the two opposite interpretations of the sea. The statue of Abundance with its horn of plenty and Health with a crown of laurel and a cup from which a snake drinks are all elements of a theatrical stage set against a travertine façade and Carrara marble carvings.
Trevi Fountain in Popular Culture
Legends of the fountain claim that anyone who throws a coin into its waters will definitely return to Rome making this one of the most famous wishing wells in the world. The 1954 film Three Coins in the Fountain strengthened the myth and everyday an estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the Fountain – the money has been used for charity purposes. The Trevi Fountain has been a preferred background for famous films. Federico Fellini's iconic La Dolce Vita featured the famous Trevi Fountain scene and the 1953 Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday used the fountain as a beautiful background for some of its scenes.