The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is the most famous fountain in Rome. It replaced the fountain designed by Leon Battiste Alberti. The fountain we can admire nowadays was designed by Niccolo Salvi who got commissioned for this project even though great Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini also proposed his work.
The fountain was built in the baroque style and its front, rich with ornaments, looks as if it is a façade of a building. It is supplied in water by an aqueduct built in 19BC. It is the same aqueduct which is a source of water for a fountain of Barcaccio located in front of the Spanish Stairs.
Leaon Battiste Alberti designed the first fountain in 1435. At the beginning of the 17th century Pope Urban VIII began a renovation of the fountain and then Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini submitted his project. It was not carried out due to financial problems of the Apostolic See.
In 1732 Clemens XII announced a competition for a new architectural project. As a result, the one prepared by Niccolo Salvi was chosen. The fountain was built between 1735 and 1776. It is 20 meters wide and 26 meters high. The main figure is Neptune with two tritons. The god of Water is in a hippocamp-drawn chariot (combination of a horse and a fish). The triton on the right is calm, whereas the one on the left is depicted as taming a wild beast. It has a symbolical meaning - the obedient hippocamp represents the silent and calm sea, whereas the disobedient one symbolizes the more dangerous sea during a storm. Four statues on the balustrade depict the four seasons. In other niches there are sculptures of women which are allegories of the Health (on the right) and the Profusion (on the left).
There is a legend saying that the name of the fountain comes from the virgin Trevi, who discovered the water spring. Since that, the water brought by the aqueduct is called Acqua Virgo.
If one wants to return to Rome, they should drop a coin over their shoulder to the fountain. It is said that dropping one coin only means the willingness to return to Rome, two - wishing for an affair, whereas three - desire for becoming married soon. The coins then picked out of water are appropriated for conservations of monuments and the poor of Rome.
The Trevi Fountain became famous after the Fellini's movie 'La Dolce Vita'. In one scene Sylvia (Anita Ekberg) took a purifying bath in its water. However, it is good to remember that bathing in the fountain is strictly forbidden!