Water is what made Rome great—and the Trevi Fountain is its perfect symbol
A gift to the city from the Pope
The fountain as we know it today was completed in the 18th century. Pope Clement XII wanted to gift the city with a monumental fountain, so he launched a public competition to find an architect; Nicola Salvi won, and it took him almost 30 years of work to complete his late baroque masterpiece, a triumph of marble and zealous sculptures.
But a fountain had already been there for a long time. In fact, the Trevi Fountain was first built during the Roman times as the hub of the city’s water system. It was meant to grant citizens access to a source of prime quality water. The fountain was located (as it is today) at the intersection between three roads (‘tre vie’): that explains the name ‘Trevi.’
“Trevi”: At the crossroad of three streets
Back then, it looked much more modest that it does now: it was a fountain with three separate basins, where passersby could drink, wash and find solace. The fountain was the final destination of the Virgin Aqueduct, the only Roman aqueduct that still works today, after more than 2000 years since it was built.
Rome was the first city to introduce the idea of fountains with free, drinkable water, and to this day it still is the city with the highest concentration of drinking fountains in the world.
Undefeated solidity and functionality
This both from a durability and functionality standpoint. One one hand, most aqueducts built today will last more or less 50 years, the ones in Rome are still working after more than 2000 years. On the other, they are an engineering model around the world for their capacity of bringing water in deserted and arid areas, such as the deserts of Israel.
Exhibition edited by Youth Committee of the Italian Commission for UNESCO - Lazio: Antonio Geracitano, Marco Anzellotti, Vittoria Azzarita, Andrea Bangrazi, Ilaria Cacciotti, Francesca Candelini, Giovanni Cedrone, Carlotta Destro, Caterina Francesca Di Giovanni, Alessandra Feola, Paolo Ianniccari, Marta Lelli, Laura Leopardi, Ginevra Odone, Dario Saltari, Paolo Scipioni.