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Rome's Best  Piazzas, Fountains and Monuments

 

 

 

  

 Rome's Best Fountains - Trevi Fountain

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Trevi Fountain

            The gorgeous Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

The Trevi Fountain is largest and  most well-known of Rome's beautiful fountains. The flowing water is a stage for a monumental sculpture involving Neptune (Oceanus) emerging from his underwater home while riding an open sea shell drawn by two, winged-horses herded by tritons.  The fountain is rimmed with steps that take you down to its edge, a feature that helps focus even more of your attention on this complex and beautiful work of art.

 


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There has been a fountain in the square since early Roman times when water was supplied to the city's fountains from the Aqua Virgo ( an aqueduct) commissioned by Agrippa to bring water to the baths he was building near the Pantheon.  The present Trevi fountain was created in the 18th century.

Some of the design was based on earlier plans by Bernini, but the majority of the work was accomplished by Nicoḷ Salvi, who labored on the fountain and its elements for 20 years, but died before it was completed. The fountain required an additional ten years labor before it was unveiled in 1762.

The fountain is embedded into the side of the Poli Palace and has many details that bear inspection (see the detailed photograph below). At the very top is the coat of arms of Pope Clement XII, one of the fountain's patrons. The coat of arms is topped with a replica of the Pope's  miter (hat) and Keys of St. Peter. Below that is an inscription honoring Pope Clement's role in building the fountain and below that is another  inscription commemorating the role of Pope Benedict XIV. A final commemoration to Pope Clement is seen just above the central arch, celebrating the fountains unveiling in 1762.

 
 

(See the photo below for the detail described in the following paragraphs.)

      Close up of the details of the Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

The four statues atop the columns celebrate the role of water in promoting life. The relief to the left of the central arch is Agrippa commissioning the building of the Aqua Virga that originally brought water to this area.  The relief to the right of the arch is a virgin who showed Agrippa's soldiers the location of the source of the spring that would eventually supply the aqueduct.  The Trevi Fountain still uses water from this source.

In the alcove to the left of the arch is a statue representing fertility and in the right alcove is another depicting good health.

The main installation is the majestic Neptune/Oceanus and a tribute to the god's power.  The horses play two roles.  One steed is headstrong and wrestles with his triton (a minor sea-god), while the other is docile, causing its triton no difficulty.  Each horse is supposed to represent the calm/violent nature that can be display by bodies of water.

While it is easy to spend your time looking at the statues, the reef, upon which everything is posed, is a incredible work of art.  The rocks and the chiseled vegetation are carefully positioned to add realism and majesty to the fountain and are considered Salvi's greatest work. 

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A legend associated with the Trevi Fountain is that if you toss a coin into its waters over your shoulder while facing away from the fountain, you will return to Rome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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