Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain, Public Art, Rome, Italy

Public Art : Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)

Sculptor: © Nicola Salvi, completed by Guiseppe Panini and artists from the Bernini School.

Date: 1732 - 1762

Description: The marble fountain depicts Neptune, (Roman god of the sea) riding a chariot drawn by winged horses and being led by Tritons (mythical sea god with head & torso of a man and a tail of a fish). Neptune and his court are surrounded by what is known as "virgin water". One Triton struggles with an unruly horse whilst the other Triton has a more placid one (symbolizing the various moods of the sea).

Commissioned By : Pope Urban VIII

Location: Piazza di Trevi, Rome, Italy.

Background to Neptune : Neptune was the Roman god of the sea. He is often depicted with a long beard  holding a trident (spear with three points) which was the symbol of his power. His trident could shatter rocks and bring forth storms. He is said to have created the horse and his own horses would draw his chariot across the sea. His wife was Amphitrite and his sons Triton & Proteus. The Greek equivalent is Poseidon.

History of the Trevi Fountain: The Trevi Fountain was built by architect, Nicola Salvi, in 1732 and completed by Guiseppe Panini in 1762  and was decorated by artists from the Bernini School. The fountain's water was supplied by one of Rome's first aquaducts. Legend surrounding the location of the fountain dates back to the time of Octavian Augustus (27 BC) when soldiers of Agrippa returned to Rome. Exhausted and thirsty a spring of water was pointed out to them by a virgin. Agrippa then made the spring into an aquaduct which ended at what became known as the "virgin water". If you look closely the woman in one of the niches is actually pointing to the water's spring.
In the 17th century Pope Urban VIII decided to build a fountain on the location of the legend but it was not until 1732, that Pope Clement XII ordered its construction. The Pope decided the public should foot the bill for the fountain by increasing the tax on wine. As a result he became known as "Papa Gabella" (the Taxing Pope).

Trivia:  : Another legend surrounding the fountain is that if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain you are destined to return to Rome, if you throw two coins you are assured the love of a desired partner and if you throw three coins you will marry your desired partner. For years the locals would steal the coins from the fountain at night but the coins are now collected and are donated to charities such as the Red Cross.

A word of warning, if you want to skinny-dip in the Trevi Fountain there are security camera's everywhere. On the 23rd April 2007, a Milan woman made headlines after being caught naked whilst cooling off in the fountain. Only known as Roberta, the woman had no idea she was being recorded, until she made the front pages of one of Italy's leading newspapers the next morning (unlucky!).

July, 2009- The Trevi Fountain coin thief has been at it again. 57-year-old Roberto Cancelletto, called D’Artagnan for the sword-shaped magnet he uses to collect coins from the fountain, has been arrested for the third time. The police had to cordon off the area after D'Artadnan threatened to commit suicide.The unemployed Cancelletto even went so far as to cut himself on the stomach with a razor blade while begging for a job. He has now been banned from the square and fined 260 euros.

Several years ago a vandal threw red dye into the waters of Trevi Fountain.

It is one of the most photographed places in Rome.

The fountain was used as a backdrop for the movies Three Coins in a Fountain and La Dolce Vita.

Other Neptune Statues From Around the World :

Fountain of Neptune - Florence, Italy.

Neptunbrunnen - Berlin, Germany 

Captain Arthur Phillip Fountain - Sydney, Australia. Call it clutching at straws but this fountain does feature a bronze statue of Neptune (complete with trident).


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