Trevi Fountain

Fontana di Trevi-Palazzo Poli — 1732-1762


Terminal exhibition of the Vergine aqueduct - the only one of the ancient aqueducts (19 BC) continuously in use to this day - is the best known of the Roman fountains and the most famous in the world for its spectacular monumentality.

Author: Nicola Salvi, Giuseppe Pannini 
Date: 1732-1762. 
Materials: travertine, marble, plaster, stucco, metals.

Documented in the Middle Ages, its name derives from a toponym in use in the area since the mid-twelfth century (Regio Trivii), or from the triple outlet of the water of the original fountain.

In 1640 by the will of Pope Urban VIII (1622-1644), in conjunction with the widening of the square, Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed a new fountain oriented like the present one, whose construction is limited to the installation of an exedra base with a pool in front, leaning against the buildings then incorporated into the Poli palace.

The construction of the present Trevi fountain is due to Pope Clement XII (1730-1740), who in 1732 announced a competition in which the major artists of the time took part. The pontiff chose from the projects of the architect Nicola Salvi (1697-1751) the most monumental and "of least prejudice to the building behind it" on whose facade the entire exhibition is inserted with a thoughtful study of proportions and decorations.

The fountain, articulated like a triumphal arch, with a deep niche, slopes down towards the large basin with a large cliff, enlivened by the sculptural representation of numerous plants and the spectacular flow of water. In the center dominates the statue of Oceano driving the shell-shaped chariot, pulled by the angry horse and the placid horse, held back by two tritons. Reliefs that allude to the history of the aqueduct and allegorical figures connected to the beneficial effects of water decorate the façade at various levels. Thus, in Salvi's work, history and nature come together in a dialectical relationship, as was affirmed by the nascent Enlightenment.

The construction was completed by Giuseppe Pannini (c.1720-c.1810) who partially modifies the cliff by regularizing the central basins.

After a restoration in the years 1989-1991 (it was followed by a maintenance of the central part in 1999), the last major restoration took place in 2014 thanks to FENDI, ending after seventeen months in 2015, with inauguration on November 3.