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Rome Sights

Trevi Fountain

  • Piazza di Trevi Map It
  • Piazza di Spagna
  • Fountain
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 03/19/2014

Fodor's Review

Trevi Fountain. 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 palates, with unusual taste combinations and natural ingredients. Piazza di Trevi, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, 00187. Barberini–Fontana di Trevi.

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Sight Information


Piazza di Trevi, Rome, 00187, Italy

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Updated 03/19/2014


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Average Rating

By Angela

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Apr 16, 2005

As they say... Three Coins In the Fountain !!

Throw the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder and make a wish. I am a beliver, I visited in 1974 on a High School trip and was back last week. My wish to return to Rome came true. Breath taking even with the crowrds.

By Sandra

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Sep 8, 2004

If You Don't Visit the Fountain -You Haven't Trevi -d!

tumbled on it the first night in Rome - gorgeoud 18th century fountain. Went back twic - first time empty - second time a zoo! Great Gelateria there too!

By Kim

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Aug 8, 2003

Romance and wishes

The actual practice of the coin toss in Trevi, you turn your back to it, toss a coin in over your left shoulder with your right hand and you will return to Rome again. My first time there, during World Youth Day 2000, I had to climb over people to get to the water, when I tossed the coin from the road level, it actually bounced off someone's head into the fountain! It was worth it though, I went back again, this time it was after dinner. No crowds,

just a few couples sitting together. Definitly amazing though!

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By Jeff

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Jun 8, 2003

Worth the Hype

Even though it has been hyped-up and is crowded with tourists, the Trevi Fountain is a necessity. Just for the sake of your being in Rome, through a coin into the fountain and pray that your prayers will be answered and you will be able to come back to Rome again.

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