A virgin, the coins & Fendi

THE virgin.

A legend. The scene was 19 BC and the Roman soldiers were parched. It was a virgin who guided them to a source of pure water thirteen kilometers from Rome.

An aqueduct was constructed from the source to the city and was named Aqua Virgo in honor of the young Roman virgin, Trivia. For four centuries, the waterway served the hot Baths of Agrippa and Rome.

The fountain.

Marking the end point of the Aqua Virgo (also referred to as Acqua Vergine), a fountain was built. This area in the city of Rome is known today as the Trevi District (called such because it is the junction of three roads: tre - three and vie - road).

Not impressed with the look of the original fountain, Pope Urban VIII commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to redesign it. The project was abandoned when the pope passed away.

Pope Clement XII was more successful. He organized a design competition (it was the trend during the Baroque Period. The Spanish Steps is a product of one) and the favored design was that of Italian architect Nicola Salvi’s, who, unfortunately, passed away 19 years after the work started in 1732. Pietro Bracci took over the project until the fountain was completed in 1762.

The Fontana di Trevi with its design theme of “Taming the waters” (represented by Oceanus, the god of all waters, on his shell chariot led by Tritons taming the hippocamps aka seahorses) that we see today is Rome’s largest Baroque fountain (at 26.3 meters high by 49.15 meters wide) and one of the most famous fountain in the globe, and one of the most historical cultural landmarks in Rome.

The coins.

If you made it to this place, you must have thrown a few of your coins – three, more or less-- into the fountain—everybody does it! Supposedly, the coins are to be tossed using the right hand over the left shoulder (and you can sing Three Coins in the Fountain if you wish).

It is said that on estimate the value of the coins tossed DAILY into the fountain total to 3,000 Euros, an amount used to subsidize a supermarket for the city’s needy. (Of course, we also know how tempting the money is to some greedy souls).


Like any other ancient structures, restoration is a constant task to keep thel andmark in tiptop shape. The Fontana di Trevi was refurbished in 1998 but soon it will undergo the most thorough restoration in its history after the luxury high fashion house of Fendi has committed 2.2 million Euros for the 20-month restoration of the fountain.

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