This year is the 50th anniversary of the film La Dolce Vita, with the famous scene of Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni frolicking in the Trevi Fountain. When Mastroianni died in 1996, the waters of the fountain were turned off and it was draped in black.
It is also known from the movie Three Coins in the Fountain. People come from everywhere to throw coins in this famous water. Over 3,000 euros are collected each day and the money helps to subsidise a supermarket for some of Rome’s less affluent residents.
The Trevi Fountain is spectacular and I would like to think it would be popular even without the film references. There are crowds here all day and night. Your best bet to see it clear of people is to go very early in the morning. I have done this several times. It is great to have the fountain to yourself to admire its beauty in peace.
As well as this chap (Neptune) keeping watch, there are police ready to blow the whistle should people try to get into the water or climb on the sculptures. It must be tempting on a hot day to jump into the cool, clear water.
The fountain is at the junction of 3 roads (tre vie) and is roughly on the site of the end point of the Acqua Virgine, one of the ancient aquaducts that supplied water to Rome. It was a Roman custom to build a fountain at the end of an aquaduct. The Goths didn’t like this much and destroyed them when they moved into Rome. Happily the custom was revived in the 15th century. The simple basin that was built was considered not elaborate enough by Pope Urban VII and in 1629 he asked Bernini to prepare a few designs for something better. The Pope died before building commenced and plans were shelved. Nicola Salvi was eventually commissioned to come up with new designs and the present fountain was begun in 1732 and finished in 1762. Bernini’s original plans were consulted. The Trevi fountain is one of the most beautiful and famous in the world. No trip to Rome would be complete without at least one visit.
One of the waterhorses is tame and the other is wild, representing the different moods of the sea.