The Trevi Fountain in Rome

Years ago, I embarked on an adventure as the culmination of study and hard work in completing my degree in Fine Arts in University; and I decided it was time to go to Europe and visit all these museums and cities that held the paintings and sculptures, etc. that I had been studying in books for the past three years – so I went – backpacking through Europe beginning in London and ending in Amsterdam after three months.  It was terrifying and exhilarating – sometimes both at the same time.

One of my goals was to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy as I was a big fan of “Roman Holiday” and Audrey Hepburn and had seen “La Dolce Vita” and “Three Coins in a Fountain” as well.

It is hard sometimes to fathom that although my country just finished celebrating it’s 150th year of being there is this Baroque masterpiece which took three decades to complete from 1732-62 that was built more than a century before we even existed.  So when people say the history is in Europe, they are not kidding.

The Trevi fountain is 85 feet tall and 65 feet wide.  Legend holds a coin thrown into the fountain will ensure a return trip to Rome.  You are to stand with your back to the fountain and throw it either with your left hand over your right shoulder or vice versa.  You are not to look behind you.   Throw in a second coin if you’re seeking love – even a third for wedding bells.  Coins are collected nightly and given to an Italian charity called Caritas which uses them to buy rechargeable grocery cards for the needy.

Trevi fountain map

Though there is some controversy here – The central figure in the Trevi Fountain is either the Greek Titan Lord of the Seas, often referred to as Father of the Waters –  Oceanus or it is the Roman god of the sea, Neptune… and since the fountain is in Italy I’m tempted to go with Neptune.   The triton (half man, half merman) on the left having trouble with a restless horse represents rough seas while the one on the left leading a calm steed is depicting tranquil waters.  On the left facing Oceanus/Neptune is a statue representing the abundance of water holding the horn of plenty with her toppled vase at her feet and the one on the right symbolizes health and water as nourishment.  All the statues are made from carrara marble while the facade and reef are made of travertine.

Did it live up to my expectations?  Surprisingly, after seeing the Coliseum and the Forum as well as St. Peter’s Square it was kind of disappointing but the romance of the fountain is appealing.  When in Rome!

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