At the juncture of three roads (tre vie) just 20 minutes walk from Rome's central train terminal is the largest Baroque fountain in the city - Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain. At over 26 metres (86ft) high and 49 metres (161ft) wide it really does need to be seen in person to appreciate the grandeur and story this magnificent work of art depicts. Nicola Salvi was awarded the commission after a design competition held by Pope Clemente XII in 1730. Work began on the fountain in 1732 and took 30 years to complete; the facade and the reef are made of travertine and the statues are carved from carrara marble.
There are two stories told by the fountain; one is the 'Taming of the Waters', where a majestic Oceanus is riding a clam shell chariot drawn by two hippocampi (sea-horses) that are tended by two tritons. The sea-horses depict the changing moods of the sea; the triton on the left struggles with an unruly sea-horse while the triton on the right leads a calm steed and sounds a conch to announce their arrival. Flanking Oceanus there are two niches containing statues of Abundance and Salubrity.
The second story told is in the bas-reliefs above on the facade that depicts the events leading to the construction of the aqueduct that feeds the Trevi Fountain. One portrays a maiden (virgin) leading roman soldiers to a pure spring, the source of the water for the fountain; the other is of Agrippa commanding the construction of the aqueduct, Aqua Virgo (Virgin Water).
Tradition states that visitors that throw a coin using the right hand over the left shoulder into the fountain are ensured a return trip to Rome. An extension of that tradition says throw 2 coins and one will fall in love; throw 3 coins and one will marry in Rome.
As a cautionary tale, those of you that want to re-enacted Anita Ekberg's scene from the movie 'La Dolce Vita' be warned; the polizia take a dim view of swimming or bathing in the fountain.
Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma, Italy