Rome's most famous fountain has had a starring role in several films, including an iconic scene in 'La Dolce Vita', and draws countless visitors daily all keen to partake in the legend of Fontana di Trevi and soak up the ambience of the piazza. The magnificent Baroque monument encompasses almost the entire plaza where its name comes from its location ('tre vie' or 'three streets').
The Trevi Fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 to mark the end of the Acqua Vergine from the ancient Acqua Virgo aqueduct (constructed in 18BC) and replace an earlier, less spectacular water feature. In the background of the fountain is the Palazzo Poli, which makes the Trevi seem even more imposing. On top of rockwork rising from the water are marble statues depicting Neptune on a shell chariot led by Tritons with seahorses. The god is flanked from behind by two mermaids set in a triumphal arch with freestanding columns – Abundance spills water from an urn and Salubrity holds a cup for a snake to drink. Sadly, Salvi died before the completion of his work in 1762. The Trevi Fountain was restored in 1998 and will undergo another comprehensive refurbishment in 2013.
Legend has it that to ensure a trip back to the Eternal City (Rome), you should throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. One coin means you will return to Rome, two coins and you'll return and fall in love, and tossing three coins into the Trevi Fountain will bestow a return trip to Rome where you'll fall in love and marry. An estimated €3,000 makes its way into the fountain daily with all proceeds going to charity. Crowds of star-struck and wannabe lovers crowd the square during the day, at night the fountain draws a smaller crowd but is just as lovely with lights illuminating its exquisite features.
The closest metro station is Barberini/Fontana di Trevi. From here, it's an eight-minute walk to the fountain via Piazza Barberini, then left onto Via del Tritone, another left onto Via della Stamperia and then turn right onto Piazza di Trevi.