Rome’s refilled Trevi Fountain basks in restored glory
It’s a balmy afternoon and you’ve decided to take a leisurely stroll in
the park. You soon come across a favorite feature: a large fountain with
a statue at its center, gracefully spouting water in all directions to
the shallow pool underneath. Feeling lucky, and perhaps a bit wistful,
you fish a coin from your pocket, make a wish and toss it into the
fountain. Then you notice all the other coins littering the bottom of
the fountain. What happens, you wonder, to all that money?
Water coursed back into Rome’s Trevi Fountain for the first time in over
a year on Tuesday as the city showed off the latest privately-funded
restoration of its prized landmarks.
Let’s head to Las Vegas, a city that operates on a palpable current of
luck. Pair this with a high per-capita rate of fountains, and
coin-filled pools are inevitable. Some of the coins in Vegas are grabbed
by people willing to wade into the water. Others are sucked into
filtration systems and end up in the trash. Most, however, are collected
and donated to charities. The Bellagio, for instance, donates about
$12,000 a year in fountain coins to charity. And that’s just one hotel
along the Vegas strip — add all the other hotels, and the haul from
fountain coins is likely to reach six digits a year [source: Padgett].
The stone rendering of Tritons guiding the shell chariot of water god
Oceanus glowed with new high-tech lighting after the most drastic
clean-up in its more than 250-year history.
But not all fountain owners donate their coins — some use the money to
defray the expense of maintenance. Take the Park Fountain in New York
City’s Bryant Park: Every three months, park workers gather the
fountain’s coins and turn the findings over to the Bryant Park Corp., a
nonprofit that runs the green space. Although the tally is sometimes
more than $3,000, it barely covers the cost of cleaning the fountain
Marking the end of an aqueduct said to have carried “Virgin Water” to
ancient Rome, the fountain now boasts fresh pumps and a pigeon deterrent
system following a 2.2 million-euro ($2.4 million) facelift.
The practice of tossing coins into fountains likely began in ancient
times, when people thought spirits lived inside them. If a person passed
by a fountain, well or other water source without tossing in a coin, he
or she would surely be followed by a bad luck. The tradition evolved
into a more personalized act, and people began making wishes as they
tossed coins into fountains and wells. Some coins are thrown into
fountains in the hope the coin-bearer will be able to return to the
fountain in the future. Whatever the reason, throwing a coin into a
fountain is a practice seen all over the world.
The work, sponsored by fashion house Fendi, began in 2014, some 25 years
after the last major restoration, amid concern over stone laurel leaves
tumbling from the facade.
“We heard two years ago just by chance that the fountain was losing
pieces and we immediately called the Rome government,” Fendi Chief
Executive Pietro Beccari said.
Transparent barriers around the basin and a footbridge that had allowed
visitors to observe restorers at work were removed, returning the scene
of screen siren Anita Ekberg’s late night dip in the 1960 film La Dolce
Vita to its former glory.
La Dolce Vita 中 Anita Ekberg在后半夜在喷泉中沐浴的美景。
Tourists in the piazza, named after the three roads (“tre vie”) that
once met there, waited to throw a coin into the newly-crystalline water
in homage to the tradition that doing so guarantees the thrower a return
trip to the Italian capital.
“It’s in the movies and it’s beautiful, especially now that it’s been
all cleaned,” said Hannah Cowley, 33, a nurse on her honeymoon from
“I’ve been watching it on (a live online camera) and hoping and hoping
and hoping that it would be ready while we are here.”
Known for its luxurious furs and Baguette handbags, Fendi is one of many
private firms that have poured money into monuments across the country
as a three-year recession hit state coffers.
The company has also paid to restore Rome’s “Four Fountains” and the
Fascist-era “Square Colosseum”.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has called for more public and
private investment in Italy’s heritage, and iltroduced tax cuts of up to
65 percent for these donations.
Elsewhere in the Eternal City, luxury shoemaker Tod’s is completing a
restoration of the Colosseum, jeweler Bulgari is overhauling the Spanish
Steps and Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov has pledged to restore an
ancient basilica in Rome’s forum.
a return trip