By Elizabeth Flynn
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most distinctive and best-known structures in Rome. It is a huge tourist attraction as people flock to see this architectural work of art. It is also historically significant to both Rome and Italy. Here are 10 facts you might not know about the Trevi Fountain.
- Some theories suggest that Salvi was not the intended architect. A competition was held in 1730 by Pope Clemens XII to design a new fountain for Rome. It is believed that the winner of the competition was actually Alessandro Galilei, a relative of Galileo. However, the announcement of the winner cause a public outcry because Galilei was from Florence. Therefore, Salvi was selected because he was native to Rome.
- It is one of the oldest sources of water in Rome. It is built at the end of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct which has provided Rome with water since 19 B.C. It is at the junction of three roads and this gave it its name. ‘Tre vie’ means three roads and these words were conjoined to create the name Trevi Fountain.
- The Colosseum is made from the same material. The predominant material used to create the fountain was travertine stone and this is the same material used to construct the Colosseum.
- During the construction of the fountain, many men were injured and some died. There are documents that say a stonecutter died in 1734 during construction when he was crushed by travertine.
- There are interesting figures relating to the fountain. It is 65 feet wide and 85 feet tall. The Trevi Fountain spills approximately 2,824,800 cubic feet of water daily.
- It is traditional to toss coins over your shoulder into the fountain and tourists throw an average of €3,000 into the pool each day. The fountain is emptied nightly and the money is given to a charity called Caritas who help the poor and needy to buy groceries.
- Although the fountain is well-known for being white, it has been other colors over the years. In honor of actor Marcello Mastroianni’s death, the fountain was draped with clack crepe. The fountain was also maliciously turned red by a vandal in 2007. The vandal threw something into the water that turned it red. The water was quickly drained to prevent damage to the structure.
- It is illegal to steal money from the fountain but this has not stopped people from committing the crime. Most famously, a man who was given the nickname ‘d’Artagnan’ stole money from the fountain every day for 34 years before he was caught in 2002.
- The Trevi Fountain has appeared in many movies. These have included ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’, ‘Roman Holiday’, and ‘The Lizzie McGuire Movie’.
- Gambling is responsible for the creation of the fountain. Its construction was funded by proceeds from the lotto game.