The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome, and the enduring masterwork of Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini. It's named for its position at the junction of three roads (“tre vie”).
The best way to admire the Trevi Fountain is to pick up a gelato from a nearby stand and snare a spot on the steps leading down to it. Crafted largely from travertine stone and Carrara marble, the fountain is presided over by a bearded Oceanus who rides on a shell-shaped chariot led by horses and two Tritons. The figure of Abundance stands in the left-hand alcove brandishing her horn of plenty, while on the opposite side, a laurel-crowned statue holds a cup, from which a snake drinks. Horticulture buffs will have fun trying to spot the 30 different species of plant that are carved into the fountain.
While you’ll land yourself in hot water with the police if you attempt to emulate the scene from the 1960 film La Dolce Vita (when Anita Eckberg dances in the water), you can at least drink the water. Its source is one of the aqueducts built by the emperor Caesar Augustus, which has been in use since 17 B.C., so is always fresh. No visit to the fountain is complete without tossing a little loose change into its waters. It’s said one coin will ensure a return visit to Rome, two will guarantee you fall in love with a Roman and three will signal wedding bells. Whether or not this works, the fountain collects some $4,000 every day and every morning is dredged of coins, which are donated to local charity.
If you have the time, visit the fountain twice, once in the day to appreciate the travertine shining in the midday sun, and once at night when it is bathed in golden light.
The Trevi Fountain is in the centre of Rome to the east of the Via del Corso. It is close to several other attractions including the Spanish Steps. The Metro train station Barberini is a short walk from the fountain.