Posted by Dabney B. on Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Yesterday, I featured the Bellagio fountains, which I listed as the top fountain in my list. Number 2 on that list went to Trevi Fountain. I know a lot of people would have guff with the fact that I put a Vegas showpiece above a classic, but classics can’t always win out simply by virtue of being classic. Besides, Rome already has some of the best architectural marvels in the world – they can’t be the best at everything.
Still, there is a good reason why Trevi Fountain is so famous. While it may not be one of the most spectacular fountains on earth, it is certainly one of the most beautiful. And, like everything else in Rome, it’s got several thousand years of history.
The fountain started with the Romans, as in the guys who made slaves fight in the Colosseum, wore togas, and drank wine all day. They didn’t build the actual fountain, but they did build aqueducts to bring water the future home of Trevi Fountain. The aqueduct met the same fate as just about every other ancient structure: foreign invaders came and broke it.
They rebuilt it much later, created a pretty facade, and everybody was happy with the fountain for a time. Back in the 1700s, however, the Pope decided that the fountain just wasn’t lavish enough, so he held a contest to spice up the location. And, a couple decades later, artists and architects built what would prove to be one of the world’s most beautiful fountains.
The sculptures depict Oceanus, god of all waters, and Tritons taming hippocamps, which are sort of like aquatic horses (but not seahorses). The overall theme of the piece is supposed to depict the taming of a harsh and chaotic sea. The Tritons succeeded, evidently, because the water in the fountain is fairly calm.
One of the interesting legends surrounding the fountain is that if you throw a coin into the fountain, it will ensure your return to Rome, which makes it an instant tourist attraction. While most people don’t really believe such a superstition, it does make the fountain 3,000 euros richer every day. Not only is the world’s most beautiful fountain, but it’s also the wealthiest. At an estimated yearly salary of $1,095,000, this fountain makes my bank statement look rather unimpressive.