Trevi Fountain, Rome. Image: wikipedia creative commmons license

On this day in History: Trevi Fountain inaugurated

By Region Central Italy History of Italy

In 1762, Pope Clement XIII officially opened the iconic Trevi Fountain in Rome. The fountain now helps raise money for the poor.

On 22nd May 1762, Pope Clement XIII officially opened the Trevi Fountain. One of the most famous fountains in the world, the Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome.

It stands 26 metres high and 49 metres across and has featured in many films including La Dolce Vita and Three Coins in the Fountain.

Coins are traditionally thrown into the fountain using the right hand over the left shoulder. The superstition being that you will return to Rome if you do so. This was the theme of the 1954 film Three Coins in the Fountain.

An estimated €3,000 are thrown into the fountain each day. The money subsidises a supermarket for needy people in Rome. Now, due to less cash being used, there is a payment machine for use with cards.

Where does the name come from?

A fountain sat for more than 400 years at the junction of three roads – tre vie – with water from one of the ancient aqueducts feeding it.

In 1629 Pope Urban VIII asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini to draw up possible renovations. However, the project was abandoned when the pope died. A century later, in 1730, Pope Clement XII organised a contest to design a new fountain.

Florentine Alessandro Galilei originally won the contest. However, there was such an outcry in Rome that the commission was eventually awarded to a Roman, Nicola Salvi.

Work on the fountain began in 1732, but Salvi died in 1751 when it was only half finished. Made from Travertine stone quarried in Tivoli near Rome, the fountain was completed by Giuseppe Pannini, with Oceanus (god of all water), designed by Pietro Bracci, set in the central niche.

Detail of the Trevi fountain
Detail from the Trevi Fountain.

The name is based on the fountain’s origins at the tre vie, becoming transformed to Trevi. The fountain is located right in the center of De ‘Crocicchi Street, Poli Street and Delle Muratte Street, in a surprisingly small piazza which it dominates.

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