The Trevi Fountain is a sight to behold and one of Italy’s most valuable water features. Located in the heart of Rome – the Eternal City – it is not just an important landmark, but also a symbol of Italian culture and history. The fountain has been featured in movies, television shows and is known for its beauty and grandeur. Its design, based on the Baroque style of 17th-century Italian art, has gotten its share of admirers and detractors alike. But regardless of the opinion you have on its aesthetics, people can agree that the Trevi Fountain is a cherished symbol of Italy, whose historic value and artistry have lasted through hundreds of years.
The Trevi Fountain is located in the heart of Rome between the colourful buildings, narrow alleys and cobbled stone pavements. Its exact location is in the Piazza di Trevi, a long, rectangular plaza in the Quirinale district. As you approach the piazza, you can’t miss the overwhelming presence of the fountain which stands tall at 26 meters in width and 49 meters in height. What further adds to its monumental stature is the use of travertine – a type of limestone – to construct the fountain. Its sheer size and the use of durable material is a testament to its timeless allure.
But what is it about the fountain that makes it so iconic? Let’s look at some of its history. This fountain is not only a public fountain, but a work of art created by the Italian master, Nicola Salvi. His masterpiece was commissioned in 1732 by Pope Clemens XII and was only completed in 1762. The main design features two main figures: the main figure of Oceanus and over him, Abundance and the statue of Salubrity and Health. The figures are surrounded by a number of sea-inspired sculptures, including Tritons, seahorses and various sea creatures, all of which add an air of movement and motion as the cascades of crystal-clear water fall into its multiple basins.
The name of the fountain also carries its artistic charm, Trevi referring to the three streets – which incidentally are now named after the fountain – that converge at the piazza. Traditionally, visitors from all over the world come to the fountain to silently express their wishes and make offerings. Today, it is strongly believed that standing at the fountain with your back towards it and throwing a coin over your shoulder into its waters, if done with a strong desire, will turn your wish into reality. It is also said that the longer you look at the fountain, the more luck you’ll be blessed with.
This popular ritual of throwing a coin has become so significant that it’s believed that over 3000 euros are thrown into the Trevi Fountain every day. This money is collected weekly and donated towards a number of charities and organisations dealing with caritative work in Rome.
The Trevi Fountain is without a doubt a must-see when in Italy. From its history, stellar design and international appeal it is a true symbol of Italian heritage. Taking a tour to the Trevi Fountain is sure to be a unique and extraordinary experience which not only educates its onlookers, but also offers a moment of peace and connectivity. Even without wishing upon a coin or offering money, it’s a place of wonder and magic.
Environmental Impact of the Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is a precious resource for the city and its residents. Not only does it provide tourists with the opportunity to explore Italian culture, but its waters also serve an important role in managing the city’s water supply. The fountain is able to feed into the aqueducts through a complex structure of pipes that balance the flow of water throughout the city. This structure helps ensure an even distribution of Rome’s drinking water and helps prevent excessive waste. In addition to this, its surrounding areas provide an excellent habitat for wildlife and are home to a range of plants and birds.
The fountain is maintained and replenished on a regular basis with groundwater that is typically collected and stored during the rainy season. The water is then filtered and recirculated in a continuous cycle while ensuring its ecological balance. However, due to the ever-increasing number of visitors from around the world, the spring of groundwater that feeds the fountain is gradually depleting. This has serious consequences for the city’s water supply, which is why there is an ongoing effort to conserve the fountain by introducing sustainable practices in its surrounding areas.
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most celebrated natural assets in Italy and its sustainability remains a major challenge in urban planning. The local government and various stakeholders have taken various steps towards controlling the environmental impact of the fountain by introducing energy-efficient lighting and enforcing limits on its water usage. Regulating visitor access and prioritising the preservation of its mosaic decorations and travertine structures have also been of great importance.
The Trevi Fountain’s design is the result of impeccable craftsmanship by Nicola Salvi. The fountain’s timelessness and classic Baroque elements make it a classic example of Roman architecture. It is a perfect blend of harmony, balance, and structure. Its structure is magnificently symmetrical, with each element – from the sea-inspired motifs to the fonts and statues – carefully placed to enhance its overall design. A range of techniques such as the use of lines, curves and shapes were used to create the classical effect of the fountain and the illusions of motion.
Type and scale of the fountain was another challenge faced by Salvi and his team. He managed to accurately capture this effect by adopting the Greek and Renaissance use of the «scamozzi» and the «ovato» principle. This principle literally means a shaped element that gives a heightened perspective of the subject which is achieved by an increased number of walls or steps giving the illusion of a larger size. This is evident in the fountain’s structure with its succession of steps, higher pools, and further projections all giving a heightened sense of scale and grandeur.
The use of travertine was also of great importance to Salvi, as the material added to the fountain’s grandeur, durability, and stability. It’s also worth noting his use of colors, as the combination of warm, pastel tones helps bring out the fountain’s beauty.
Restoration of the Fountain
Trevi Fountain’s restoration was a big project for the government and local authorities, involving the collaboration of numerous experts. From a structural point of view, the fountain’s restoration focused on repairing and replacing areas affected by water erosion while making sure to keep the original design. The cleaning and restoration of the travertine and limestone walls – including statues and decorative features – was an important undertaking. This process involved cleaning, filling in the damaged areas and replacing any missing pieces of sculpture.
In addition to that, the restoration included repointing the walls, repairing any cracks and fissures and reinforcing the existing structure and shape of the fountain with metal. The metal reinforcement was then covered with a fabric material, which was then treated with a waterproofing material. This helped prevent any damage to the walls, sculptures, and other decorative elements.
The fountain’s lighting, which creates an enthralling effect at night, was also replaced with energy-efficient LED lamps. This move helps to save energy while providing a delicate, yet powerful, illumination that further adds to the fountain’s beauty.
Modern Day Significance
The Trevi Fountain is a symbol of Italian heritage and is renowned globally. It is no surprise then that art and culture surrounds the fountain. From its movies to television shows and literature, the fountain has been featured in a range of global works – a testament to its iconic status. Even today, visitors continue to be captivated by its grandeur and charm, making it a major tourist attraction.
In recent years, its surrounding streets and piazza have also been revitalised by a number of high-end stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and more. This move is an effort to balance out the expectations of modern day visitors, while also maintaining the historical elements of the fountain. Many of these stores and venues donate part of their profits to caritative organisations and help sustain the fountain from an economic standpoint.
The Trevi Fountain is a pillar of Italian culture and one of the most important artistic works of the 18th century. From its somewhat modest beginnings, to its international fame today, it is a reminder of the beauty, artistry, and knowledge that Italian architects and artists are capable of producing. It’s truly no wonder why this fountain continues to be a source of inspiration and a cultural reference worldwide.
Tourism and Public Access
The Trevi Fountain’s breathtaking beauty and majestic size draw in countless visitors annually. One of the most common misconceptions about the fountain is that it’s an open public space which makes it available for anyone to visit. This, however, is not the case, as people are now required to purchase tickets to access certain parts of the piazza and its gardens.
If you plan on visiting the fountain, you can purchase day-long entrance tickets, which come with other additional features such as guided tours and access to the fountain’s train station. However, if you wish to avoid the long queues and crowds, then it’s recommended to visit the fountain in the early hours of the day, when the streets and piazzas are empty and still. This way, you can enjoy the fountain without the hustle or bustle of the crowd.
The fountain is also protected by officers whose primary duty is to ensure the safety of everyone visiting the Fountain. But unfortunately, due to the iconic status of the fountain, there have been numerous incidents of theft and vandalism. To prevent this, security measures have been put in place, such as increased patrolling and the introduction of CCTV cameras.
The Trevi Fountain is aptly named ‘The Jewel of Rome’. Its beauty, history, as well as its legacy of art, architecture, and design make it an unforgettable experience. The fountain is a must-see attraction when touring Italy, whether you believe in tossing a coin or not. Its iconic status and the captivating architecture ensures that it continues to be the source of admiration by visitors from all over the world.