Although it is one of Rome's major tourist draws, the Trevi Fountain is a relatively new sight in this very old city. In 1732, Pope Clement XII held a competition to find a suitable architect to craft a new outlet fountain for the Acqua Vergine, an aqueduct that had been pumping fresh water into Rome since 19 B.C.
Although Florentine artist Alessandro Galilei won the contest, the commission was awarded to local architect Nicola Salvi, who promptly began construction on the massive Baroque fountain. The Trevi Fountain was completed in 1762 by the architect Giovanni Pannini, who took over the project after Salvi's death in 1751.
The Trevi Fountain is located in Rome's historic center on Via delle Muratte on a small square below the Quirinale Palace, a former papal residence and the modern-day home of the President of Italy. The closest Metro stop is Barberini, although if you want to see the Spanish Steps you could get off at the Spagna Metro station and walk from Piazza di Spagna, about a 10-minute walk. Our recommended lodging in the area is Daphne Inn. See more top rated hotels in Rome's historic center.
From morning until past midnight, thousands of tourists crowd around the Trevi's wide basin to photograph this fantastical marble creation of mermen, seahorses, and cascading pools all presided over by the sea god Neptune.
Tourists also visit the Trevi Fountain to take part in a ritual coin toss, as it is said that if you toss a coin into the Trevi, then you will be assured a return trip to the Eternal City.
Editor's Note: Restoration is was completed in fall, 2015 and the fountain is gleaming white again.