What Is The Trevi Fountain

What is the Trevi Fountain

One of the most iconic landmarks in Rome and among the world’s most popular attractions, the Trevi Fountain is a stunning example of Baroque architecture and art. Representing some of the finest Renaissance sculptures, the fountain is a celebration of Italian art, culture, and engineering that has been inspiring visitors for centuries.

Constructed between 1732 and 1762 under the teaching and guidance of designer Nicola Salvi and architect Pannini, the Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic fountains in existence. Standing over 100 feet wide and 85 feet tall, the fountain sports many different features, including a multitude of sculptural works and carvings, as well as a backdrop made of travertine stones.

Featuring sculptures of the powerful God of the Sea, Neptune, people often mistake the name of the fountain to be “Trevino’s Fountain”, when in fact it is named after the Poseidon villa in which it was built – Trevi. Standing as a monument to Italian creativity and craftsmanship, historians acknowledge the fountain as a symbol of Italian culture as much as it is a work of art.

The grey and white stones set against the background of emerald water reflect a vision of a classical and timeless beauty. Built with a complex network of underground streams, aqueducts, and canals, the fountain gushes with a powerful stream of water. Even after centuries of use, the fountain continues to produce the same grand spectacle of cascades that captivated its collective audience.

Its structure is covered with various kinds of sculptures, ranging from mythical creatures to depictions of traditional goddesses. The sculptures are considered to be some of the finest examples of Baroque sculpture and feature meticulous details, from jewellery worn by the gods and goddesses to the intricate patterns found in their clothing.

The grandeur and beauty of the Trevi Fountain attracts visitors from all over the world to its stunning site. Guests are encouraged to throw coins into the waters beneath, creating a stunning ripple of light on the seafoam and representing a wish for a successful return to Rome. It’s estimated that thousands of coins are thrown into the fountain every day, making the fate of the Trevi Fountain secured for centuries to come.

The History of the Trevi Fountain

Created in the eighteenth-century by renowned architect Nicola Salvi and redefined by the Baroque artist Pietro Bracci, the Trevi Fountain has been a symbol of Italian culture for centuries. It was created during the grand Baroque period, with Salvi setting out to represent a grand gathering of gods and goddesses with Neptune taking center stage. This spectacular fountain was designed to reshape the city’s urban landscape, representing a powerful statement for the citizens of Rome and a step towards a brighter future.

For centuries, the Trevi Fountain has been the perfect backdrop for tourists to take in the beauty of the city. For Italians, however, it has been a source of national pride, representing the heart and soul of the city. Just a few steps away from the fountain stand the ruins of the great Roman baths, which served the city’s citizens with the divine blessings of their gods.

Throughout history, the Trevi Fountain has been a powerful symbol of Italian culture, symbolizing the nation’s resilience in the face of conflict and tragedy. It not only serves as a beloved monument but is a reminder of the city’s history and its transformation throughout the years. It also serves as a reminder of the nation’s great cities and the importance of art and culture in their development.

In fact, the Trevi Fountain has experienced its own share of destruction and desecration. From the twentieth-century bombings of WWII to the modern-day graffiti art and robberies, the fountain stands to tell its own story of beauty and destruction.

However, the Trevi Fountain stands tall today as an icon of Europe, representing the beauty and artistry of Italian culture and the resilience of the Roma people even after centuries of turmoil.

The Meaning Behind the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is widely known as a monument to the power of water, depicting Neptune the God of the Sea, surrounded by gods, goddesses, mermen, and wild horses. The water that cascades across the fountain is in reference to the life-giving properties of the water and the bounty of the sea.

The fountain’s statues stand as a powerful symbol of fertility, with the gods and goddesses shown holding sheaves of wheat, clusters of grapes and fruit, and other symbols of sustenance. The wild horses and the bull in the centre of the fountain represent the forces of nature that have the power to either bring life or destruction.

The presence of the salamander, an animal that is often associated with good luck and fortune, also adds a sense of charm and optimism to the fountain. Many other animals are present in the fountain, including dolphins, sea horses, and sea dragons, reflecting the life and mystery of the deep oceans.

The overall tone of the fountain is one of grandeur and optimism, providing visitors with a sense of hope that their wishes may come true. To this day, people continue to flock to the fountain with their coins in hand, wishing for good luck and fortune.

The Trevi Fountain is not only a symbol of Italian culture and resilience, but it stands as a timeless testament to the beauty and power of art and architecture. The splendour of the fountain continues to captivate and inspire the millions of visitors who pay it homage each year, a reminder of the power of culture and art that still stands tall.

The Architecture of the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and is a perfectly sculpted combination of many individual elements of art and engineering. From its stonework, to its sculptures and statues, all the way to the intricate details, the fountain stands today as a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of its designers.

The fountain was built with two walls of travertine stone, built in an open plan that allowed for a natural decline of the water. It is surrounded by a series of rock-shaped figures and intricate details. The main body of the fountain depicts an array of gods and goddesses, including Neptune the God of the Sea and four Tritons representing the four winds.

The fountain is also covered in many detailed carvings and sculptures, from animals to ornamental plants, as well as various figures depicting religious figures. Further up, the fountain is graced by the statues of allegorical figures such as Abundance and Health, as well as sculptures of mermaids, sea horses, and sea dragons.

The fountain was designed to be enjoyed from both sides, and is the perfect backdrop for a beautiful evening stroll or a romantic moment. The square where it stands is usually filled with tourists taking pictures and admiring its beauty, giving visitors a unique opportunity to take part in a piece of history.


The Trevi Fountain has seen centuries of evolution and still stands tall. In its more than two centuries of life, it has come to symbolize the Italian will and resilience in the face of turbulence and part of a bigger ensemble of Italian art, culture, and engineering. It stands to this day as a symbol of the Italian spirit and a reminder of the power of art and creativity.

Symbols of Wealth, Prestige and Luck

The Trevi Fountain is not only a symbol of Italian culture, but it has also come to represent wealth, status, and luck. It has been a popular background for celebrities and wealthy Romans who want to show off their good fortune. It has also been a beloved attraction for generations of tourists who flock to its waters, wishing for good luck and prosperity, or simply to take home a timeless piece of Italian history.

The Trevi Fountain represents a sense of grandeur, elegance, and optimism. It is a reminder that wealth and status do not always bring happiness and joy. It is a testament to the power of architecture and art to shape a city and bring its people together. It stands tall as a reminder of the unique vision of its designers, a symbol of excellence, and a masterpiece of Italian craftsmanship.

The Legend of the Trevi Fountain

Though many people are drawn to the beauty and majesty of the Trevi Fountain, there still remains a lingering mystery of the legend surrounding it. It is said that tossing a coin into the fountain’s waters will bring a single wish to fruition, a belief that has been cherished for centuries.

The legend has been brought to life by many of Rome’s greatest storytellers, including the artist Raphael, who included a depiction of the fountain in his painting entitled “The School of Athens”. The coin tossing is a sign of admiration and respect for the fountain, with many believing that it will bring them luck in their future.

The success of the legend can be seen in the thousands of coins thrown into the fountain each day. It stands as a reminder of the appreciation and reverence the people of Rome have for the Trevi Fountain, a symbol of their culture, and a reminder of the power of nature and art.

Conservation and Sustainability

The Trevi Fountain is in a delicate state of preservation, as a site of historical beauty and immense cultural importance. Conservation is a necessity in order to preserve the fountain for generations to come. To this end, the Italian government and the city of Rome have been working together to ensure the safety and well-being of the site.

In this effort, the city is taking advantage of newer materials and techniques that are more sustainable while still preserving the integrity of the original design. This includes the maintenance of the many intricate carvings and sculptures featured in the fountain, ensuring that the craftsmanship of its creators is respected and preserved. Further, a sophisticated water filtration system is in place, to ensure the cleanliness of the water, while also providing a cost-saving measure.

The restoration efforts of the Trevi Fountain are ongoing and are aimed to create an environment that can be enjoyed by all. It is a beacon of Italian culture and stands as a reminder of the beauty and power of art, architecture, and culture.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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