In 2015 a National Geographic Traveler article, "101 Reasons to Travel Now", featured "Spiffier Rome: The Pyramid, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and Domus Aurea (Emperor Nero's villa) all show off much needed-and tasteful-touch-ups..." Add the Spanish Steps to that list. Given Rome's complicated financial situation how is this happening? It's all thanks to private donors, companies with a vested interest in returning Rom'e beautiful monuments to their original splendor.
The Trevi Fountain restoration and cleaning project was financed by the Italian designer Fendi. Total cost: just over €2,000,000. The restoration was part of the designer's "Fendi for Fountains" project: Fendi is giving back to the city of Rome what it has received in spades from the city over the years.
Other designers have been following suit: the Colosseum restoration was funded by Tod's, and the revamp of the Spanish Steps was paid for by jewelry designer Bulgari. Monument restoration needs in Rome are mammoth...well out of the reach of Italian state funding... and it's thanks to generous private funding that these restoration and revamp projects are happening.
The Trevi fountain was originally completed in 1762, designed in part by Nicola Salvi, under the direction (in part) of Pope Clement XII.
Many were involved in the project over the course of its construction: Bernini sketched possible designs, Pietro Bracci took over as architect following Salvi's death, and the project was completed by Giuseppe Panini. Over the years fountain restorations have taken place, the last one in 1998. The recent restoration cleaned the stonework and repaired cracks, 100 Led lights were installed to enhance nighttime viewing, new pumps and electric work were installed and the steel supporting the statues was checked.
When visitors come to the Trevi fountain they admire its beauty and are thrilled by the fact that they are on the site of iconic films like La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday. Everyone wants to throw a coin into the fountain: the first time you visit the Trevi fountain it guarantees your future return to Rome, and the second coin-toss that you will fall in love with an Italian. Something in the vicinity of €3,000 is thrown into the fountain each day. The coins are donated to the Rome charity, Caritas, and the funds assist the needy with getting groceries.
And yet what's underlying the facade we are all so captivated by is the ancient Roman aqueduct, Aqua Virgo, the originally 22 kilometer aqueduct commissioned by Roman Emperor Augustus, that for over four centuries served Rome and the Baths of Agrippa. If you are interested in the aqueducts and waterways that lie beneath Rome please join Flavor of Italy for our Fountains & Waters Tour.