An extraordinary masterpiece of Italian art, the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and the most beautiful in the world. It is believed that the word Trevi derives from the Latin word Trivium, indicating a crossing of three streets – in this case Via De’ Crocicchi, Via Poli and Via Delle Muratte. The site originally marked the terminal at the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, built in 19 BC. One of the first-storey reliefs shows a young girl (the legendary virgin after whom the aqueduct was named) pointing to the spring from which the water flows. Standing over 26 metres, every day the fountain spills 80,000 cubic metres of water.
Ah, but not on the morning of our arrival in the square. Legend would have you believe that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. My wife had been waiting for months to throw a Euro over her shoulder. However, upon our arrival the fountain was dry, as maintenance was being carried out on underwater lights. As recompense, we opted for an ice cream and waited patiently with the throng of tourists for the waters to flow once again, but to no avail.
We had arrived at the Trevi Fountain via the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Located in the heart of piazza del Colosseon, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, and today remains hugely impressive, despite the devastation caused by earthquakes and stone robbers over the years.
And whilst in Rome, we could not miss a visit to the world’s smallest country – Vatican City, which occupies about two square miles and is the spiritual epicentre for millions of practicing Roman Catholics worldwide. It is also a tourist magnet, as we discovered upon entering through the expansive St Peter’s Square.
We joined a snaking trail of visitors into St Peter’s Basilica, the most important church in the world. Even non art aficianados could not fail but be impressed by the magnificent works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Michelangelo. It was a fitting end to a brief, yet fulfilling day to a city to which we plan to return, Euro in hand for a second visit to the Trevi Fountain.