Posted by: danielfee | June 16, 2012

Travel Photo of the Day 06-16-2012

Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy

The most grandiose and famous of Rome’s baroque fountains is the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). It stands 85.3 feet high and 65.6 feet wide. On a warm sunny day it is difficult to get a good photo of the entire fountain unless you don’t mind having hundreds of tourists in your shot.

The Roman custom of building a handsome fountain at the endpoint of an aqueduct that brought water to Rome dates back to the early Roman empire, but it was revived in the 15th century with the Renaissance. In 1629 Pope Urban VIII thought the earlier fountain was insufficiently dramatic so he commissioned sketches of possible renovations, but when the Pope died the project was abandoned. During the Baroque era it became popular to have  competitions designing buildings and fountains. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei, but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway. Work began in 1732 and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Pope Clement’s death. Salvi died in 1751 with his work half-finished, but before he went he made sure a stubborn barber’s unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase called by Romans the asso di coppe, the “Ace of Cups.”  The Trevi Fountain was finally finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini who substituted the present allegories for the planned sculptures of Agrippa and “Trivia”, the Roman virgin.

A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. This was the theme of the 1954 movie Three Coins in the Fountain and the Academy Award-winning song by the same name. An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy.

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