The history of Rome’s Trevi fountain. 

One of the most famous fountains in the world, the Trevi Fountain in Rome is an unmissable sight when visiting the romantic city. Sandwiched between a number of small streets in the heart of Rome, the Baroque-style fountain depicts Oceanus, God of water surrounded by the statues of Abundance, Salubrity, tritons and hippocamps. Built using local Travertine stone in 1762, Trevi Fountain stands 26 feet tall and 49 feet wide, so has naturally required some renovation over the years, most recently in 2015. After the Fendi-sponsored restoration three years ago, now is the best time to visit Trevi Fountain in Italy and admire the iconic masterpiece in all its glory.

1. Who designed the Trevi fountain?
2. Where is the Trevi fountain?
3. How did the famous fountain get its name?
4. When is the best time to visit?
5. What happens to coins thrown in the fountain?

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Who designed the Trevi Fountain?

Prior to the construction of the Trevi Fountain, another fountain dating back to Roman times existed in its place. In 1629 Pope Urban VIII concluded the fountain was insufficient so he commissioned Italian architect, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, to sketch some renovation ideas. However, following the Pope’s death in 1744, the plans were never bought to life, though some of Bernini’s touches can be seen on the fountain today. 

It wasn’t until 1730 that work began on the fountain after Italian architect Nicola Salvi won the re-design contest held by Pope Clement XII. Using local Travertine stone, the same material used in the construction of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain slowly began to take shape, with intricate detail carved into every section and sculpture. Unfortunately, Salvi didn’t live to see the finished piece, but with the help of four sculptors and architect, Giuseppe Pannini, Trevi Fountain was completed 30 years later in 1762.


Oceanus in the Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain detail

Where is the Trevi Fountain?

Located in the Trevi district of Rome, the Italian fountain is easily accessible while staying at a luxury hotel in Rome, whether it’s Hotel de Russie, Portrait Roma or Villa Spalleti Trivelli. A short walk from many of Rome’s main attractions including the Spanish Steps, Pantheon and mighty Colosseum, Trevi Fountain’s position in the heart of Rome is an excellent place to explore from. Up for discovering more Roman history? Trevi Fountain serves as the perfect place to set off from on a day trip to the old port town of Ostia on the west coast. Less than an hour drive away, we’ll arrange a private tour of the vast archaeological site at Ostia Antica, home to beautiful mosaics, ancient ruins, floor frescoes and wall paintings. 

How did the Trevi Fountain get its name?

Sitting atop an ancient aqueduct that dates back to 19 BC, the Trevi Fountain is fed by the clear water of Acqua Vergine. Found at the junction of three streets, translating to ‘tre vie’, this is simply how the Trevi Fountain got its famous name.

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When is the best time to visit the famous fountain in Italy

Busy for most of the day, our Travel Experts believe the best time to visit Trevi Fountain is at the break of dawn or in the evening, both offering a completely different but beautiful standpoint. Just eight minutes from Trevi Fountain and sitting atop one of the city’s seven original hills lies Villa Spalleti Trivelli, a gorgeous hotel over 100 years old. Laced with antique furniture and a glamorous marble bathroom, once you’ve checked in to your room for the evening, you’ll be in the perfect position to head out on a night tour of Trevi Fountain. Beautifully lit, the baroque architecture comes to life when darkness falls and the crowds have disappeared, creating a heavenly atmosphere. Don’t forget to toss a coin into the glistening pool for good fortune.

Trevi Fountain at night
Coins in Trevi Fountain

What happens to the coins thrown into Trevi Fountain?

The tradition of coin tossing in Trevi Fountain came about after the 1954 film, Three Coins in the Fountain. Now a legend; using your right hand to throw over your left shoulder, toss in one coin to ensure your return to Rome, two coins for your return and to meet new romance, and three coins for your return, love and marriage. An estimated €3,000 are thrown into the fountain daily, so with this in mind, municipal workers temporarily shut access to the Trevi Fountain three times a week to scrub the fountain floor and collect the coins. Traditionally the coins were then cleaned, counted and delivered to Caritas, a Catholic charity to help the poor, however more recently, the money is now spent on improving and rebuilding the city’s ancient infrastructure.

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