Historical Significance of the Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic monuments of Rome, Italy. It is located in the Trevi district in central Rome, at the junction of three roads, hence the name ‘Trevi’. As an ancient monument of immense beauty and with a unique design, the Trevi Fountain has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.
However, the exact age of the fountain is contested, as there is debate about how long the current monument has been in existence. The earliest known description of the Trevi Fountain is from the 16th century, although there is evidence suggsesting that it was built on the same site in ancient times. What is certain is that the modern version of the Trevi Fountain, commissioned by Pope Clement XII in 1732, was designed by Giovanni Battista Bracci.
Popularity of the Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain has become a symbol of Rome, well known all around the world. Its beauty and iconic status make it a popular tourist destination, attracting almost 4 million visitors a year. It is also recognised as one of the most romantic places in the world, and as such, visitors usually make a wish while tossing in a coin. Popular tradition says that the fulfilment of the wish is guaranteed by making the wish while tossing in the coin.
International celebrities, including Audrey Hepburn and Federico Fellini have featured the Trevi Fountain in their works. Fellini’s romantic drama ‘La Dolce Vita’ kickstarted the trend of the fountain becoming a symbol of romance and beauty.
Restoration works of the Trevi Fountain
At present, the Trevi Fountain is in desperate need of restoration works. According to the Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini, the restoration works are necessary to preserve the designs and sculptures that make the fountain so unique. Franceschini stated, “The fountain, which is in such need of attention, testimony to a great Italian art, is not only an extraordinary work but also an international symbol…Our art must be treasured and safeguarded, it has to be part of our life and it is in the Trevi fountain that Italian cultural heritage is concentrated”.
The total cost of the restoration, estimated at 2.2 million euros, will be funded by the Italian fashion house, ‘Fendi’. They are partnering up with the ‘Fontana di Trevi Restoration Committee’ and the ‘General Direction of Fine Arts and the Landscape in Rome’, to rebuild the fountain’s stonework, statues and mosaics.
Environmental Impact of the Trevi Fountain
With its immense popularity, the Trevi Fountain is faced with another challenge: the impact of human waste and graffiti. Despite being monitored by security guards, the fountain is constantly being damaged, with visitors throwing litter, coins, and marking the walls with graffiti. As of today, the fountain is said to be under the three-mile-deep layer of coins, with the loss of its vibrancy.
To tackle this problem, the authorities and conservation experts have designed a system to recuperate the coins using metal detectors. Since 2006, the system has collected 1.5 million euros annually, which is distributed to charity.
Lesser Known Facts about the Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is much more than a romantic backdrop for movies. It has numerous interesting facts that many visitors are not aware of. For instance, the year 1762 saw the completion of the work carried out on the fountain and this was marked with a grand festival, that had musicians and free wine for the public.
Another interesting fact about the fountain is related to its water. Contrary to popular belief, the fountain is not supplied by the Aqua Vergine water source. However, the water is indeed supplied by a hydro-geological resource, the Acqua Virgo, which was discovered by miraculous means.
The Future of the Trevi Fountain
Despite the damage inflicted on it, the Trevi Fountain is likely to remain one of the most popular and romantic landmarks of Rome in the years to come. Following the completion of the restoration project in 2021, the fountain is expected to become a glowing monument of immense beauty and grandeur.
With its immense popularity, the Trevi Fountain is also likely to remain a popular tourist destination in the future. Moreover, the fountain is likely to remain a popular destination for film-makers, who continue to be inspired by the mesmerizing beauty of the fountain.
Costs of Maintaining the Trevi Fountain
The annual cost of maintaining the Trevi Fountain is estimated to be around 200 thousand euros. This includes the cost of replacing the old pumps and the necessary maintenance of the mosaics. This cost is partially offset by the 1.5 million euros that the authorities collect from the coins thrown in the fountain annually.
In addition to this, the ‘International Committee for the Preservation of the Trevi Fountain’ aims to source out voluntary contributions, annually, to cover any additional costs that can incur. This committee, established in 2001, aims to clean, preserve and secure the monument, as part of their cultural heritage mission.
How Old is the Trevi Fountain in Rome?
The exact age of the Trevi Fountain is not known, as the current monument was commissioned in 1732. Since then, the fountain is said to have gone under various changes, but remains one of the most iconic landmarks of Rome and one of the most visited tourist destinations.
In recent years, the fountain has been in need of restoration works, and these works are expected to complete in 2021, restoring the beauty of the fountain, and of Rome. In addition to this, the authorities are constantly aiming to maintain and protect the fountain from environmental damage and human waste.