- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Italian Phrases
Fodor's Essential Italy
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Trevi Fountain Review
Alive with rushing waters commanded by an imperious Oceanus, the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) earned full-fledged iconic status in 1954 when it starred in 20th-Century Fox's Three Coins in the Fountain. As the first color film in Cinemascope to be produced on location, it caused practically half of America to pack their bags for the Eternal City.
From the very start, however, the Trevi has been all about theatrical effects. An aquatic marvel in a city filled with them, the fountain's unique drama is largely due to the site: its vast basin is squeezed into the tight meeting of three little streets (the "tre vie," which may give the fountain its name) with cascades emerging as if from the wall of Palazzo Poli.
The conceit of a fountain emerging full-force from a palace was first envisioned by Bernini and Pietro da Cortona for Pope Urban VIII's plan to rebuild the fountain (which marked the end-point of the ancient Acqua Vergine aqueduct, created in 18 BC by Agrippa).
Only three popes later, under Pope Clement XIII, did Nicolo Salvi finally break ground with his winning design.
Salvi had his cake and ate it, too, for while he dazzles the eye with Baroque pyrotechnics—the sculpted seashells, the roaring seabeasts, the divalike mermaids—he has slyly incorporated them in a stately triumphal arch (in fact, Clement was then restoring Rome's Arch of Constantine).
Salvi, unfortunately, did not live to see his masterpiece completed in 1762: working in the culverts of the aqueduct 11 years earlier, he caught his death of cold and died.
Everyone knows the famous legend that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain you will ensure a return trip to the Eternal City. But not everyone knows how to do it the right way: You must toss a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder, with your back to the fountain. One coin means you'll return to Rome; two, you'll return and fall in love; three, you'll return, find love, and marry. The fountain grosses some €600,000 a year, and aside from incidences of opportunists fishing coins from the water, all of the money goes to charity. Even though you might like to reenact Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni's famous Trevi dip in La Dolce Vita, be forewarned that police guard the fountain 24 hours a day to keep out movie buffs and lovebirds alike. Transgressors risk a fine of up to €500. Around the corner, the Gelateria San Crispino (Via della Panetteria 42; 06/6793924) is for discerning palettes, with unusual taste combinations and natural ingredients.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
February 2014 Sicily Trip Report
We found February an excellent time to travel to Sicily. Read more
Well, here we are finally in Sorrento. Read more
My DH and I would love to do a little exploring next March or October. Read more
· News & Features
Techie travelers have embraced the fun, tech-driven, on-the-road adventure that is geocaching. ... Read more
This week, we covered top destinations for great family getaways—from Disney World to dinosaur spotting.... Read more
Go on location in Görlitz, Germany, to the transporting set of director Wes Anderson's film... Read more