City blog. Rome based.

Trevi Fountain: given back after one year

After the restorations for over one year, from Tuesday November 3rd 2015 the Trevi Fountain can again be appreciated by the Romans and visitors; it is considered one of the must-see monuments.

Questo articolo è disponibile anche in italiano.


Questo articolo è disponibile anche in italiano.

  • Where: piazza di Trevi
  • When: the square and the fountain are always accessible. By the way, the best time to enjoy it is early at morning or late at night: at that time, only few visitors go there and the square is almost empty! That’s because the square is small, and during the day it’s really crowdy. The night light is extremely suggestive, and that’s a plus.
  • Why: for throwing a coin, of course! And also to appreciate a masterpiece with high historical value.


One of the most known fountaind EVER.

Best know especially for being an amazing set for 1960’s movie (Federico Fellini, “La dolce vita”), everyone get there to throw the coin to be sure to be back in Rome.

But the fountain is muche more than a movie set or perfect place for a souvenir photo. It has a long history, starting two thousand years ago.

Its past is just behind the fountain, and we could start a travel to discover it together.


The Aqua Virgo aqueduct.

Trevi Fountain is the terminal point of the modern aqueduct Acqua Vergine. The Acqua Vergine is the revived roman aqueduct Aqua Virgo, the oldest aqueduct still working.

Aqua Virgo was built in August’s times by his close partner and friand Marco Vipsanio Agrippa; it never stopped to give water to the city of Rome.

The name Aqua Virgo (meaning Virgin Water) has three possible reasons:
1.  The water came in Rome pure and pristine.
2. A girl (virgo in latin) showed to Agrippa and his soldiers the exact location of the water spring.
3. A water diviner indicated the spring with the help of a verge (virga, in latin).

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Long history to build a fountain.

In 1453 pope Nicolò V restored the ancient aqueduct, and built a simple fountain; this fountain was projected by the artist Leon Battista Alberti, in the area known as “della Trejo” (then Trevi).
In 1640 the new pope Urbano VIII Barberini gave this work to Bernini; this work provided to build a great scenografic complex nearby the family palace, Palazzo Barberini, soon to be ready. This work would be soon abandoned.

Bernini’s ideas was great and very expensive. To accomplish it, the pope increased the taxes on the wine; that irritated the roman people and provoked strokes from the local satira, the famous pasquinade.

Urbano VII strongly desired that fountain, and to decrease the effort decided tu use some secoond-hand marble coming from ancient buildings.

In four years Urbano VIII died, and Bernini felt down with him.


New pope, new project. Innocenzo X Pamphilj gave to Bernini a last opportunity: he would had to extend the aqueduct to piazza Navona; there, his antagonist Francesco Borromini would have created a scenographic fountain, in front of the new family palace.

The real turning point came with another pope, Clemente XII Corsini. In 1731 he decided to build a new fountain as terminal point of the aqueduct, and almost each single artist of that time gave his own proposal. The new work would have been great and as big to assure as much as good water possible.

Finally, it was chosen the model by the roman artist Nicola Salvi. It is clearly inspired by Bernini’s works, and the stone characters have maritime allegoric meanings.

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The fountain.

The works started in 1735, and the fountain was ready in 1761.

The ground reproduces a reef, and above is the statue of Ocean; he is on a chariot made with a large shell, dragged by two seahorses.

The seahorses symbolizes two appareances of the sea: calm and turbulent; they are lead by tritons.

In the niches are the statues of Abundance and Salubrity. The bas-relief is carved with images from the legend of the Agrippa’s building of the aqueduct.

The fountain has been restored first in 1956-1958, and then in 1989-1991. In 1999 a general cleaning affected the fountain, to be ready for the Jubilee in 2000.


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