The most monumental in Rome, the Trevi Fountain remarkably combines architecture and sculpture with the natural elements of rock and water. It is one of the most famous examples of late-baroque art: the great strength of nature blends in with the highest expression of man’s genius. The heaviness of the stone disappears in the dynamism of the sculptures that seem to protrude towards the spectator. In the centre, an imposing Oceanus stands in his shell-shaped chariot driven by sea-horses and tritons. The niches on the side hold statues of Abundance and Salubrity. The fountain is hemmed by curved steps forming a sort of cavea.
Dedicated to Mars, the fountain was designed by Nicolò Salvi in the 18th century and built against the facade of Palazzo Poli during the papacy of Pope Clement XII. The small square in which the fountain is located has played and important role in Rome ever since the period of Augustus, who brought water to the city via the Acqua Vergine (Aqua Virgo) aqueduct.
Water was a determining factor in the life of the small Trevi quarter. Still today the excavations of the “city of water” are visible in the remains of one of Nero’s villas and of a large reservoir.
The fountain has appeared in several notable films, such as La Dolce Vita, by Federico Fellini, with the famous scene in which Anita Ekberg bathes in its waters. The fountain owes part of its fame to the coin-throwing tradition, according to which, if you want to come back to Rome, you must throw a coin in the fountain over your shoulder with your back to it. Today the coins are collected daily and offered to charitable organizations.