Hell must have frozen over and the end of the world must be nigh because the unthinkable has happened: visitors are now forbidden from throwing coins into the Trevi fountain.
On a recent trip to Rome (May 2015) I followed the crowds to Piazza di Trevi expecting to see this beautiful sight …
…but instead, I was greeted with a work site.
Since the Summer of 2014, essential maintenance work has been carried out on Rome’s most iconic fountain. The eighteenth century monument has been completely drained and scaffolding erected around it. The restoration was supposed to have been completed by March 2015, but on my visit two months after this initial deadline, work was still being carried out on it. Thankfully, all the tarpauline previously covering the beautiful Baroque façade had be taken down. Apparently, unexpected issues and additional problems arose only after the work had begun which consequently have prolonged the project and delayed its completion.
For a while Roma Capitale, the organisers of the restoration project put in a temporary walkway around the foot of the fountain. Visitors were able to stand – albeit for a few moments before being hollered at by staff to keep moving – just metres away from Neptune and the Tritons. No visitor has been able to get that close to the façade since Anita Ekberg went for that paddle.
Although visitors are seriously discouraged from throwing coins into the dry bed of the fountain whilst maintenance work continues, they are invited to throw their money into a small, enclosed trough placed temporarily in front of the fountain. It’s commendable that Roma Capitale have done their best to cater for visitors’ needs, but even with a photo of Neptune in front of it (should one not be able to crane their neck over the glass panel to see the real thing behind it) the ‘Trevi Trough’ just doesn’t have the same romantic allure as the fountain does.
Most visitors seem content with the Trevi Trough and are just as happy to chuck their change into it as they would have been to chuck it into the fountain…
But, the odd tourist did appear a little disappointed with the temporary arrangements…
I wasn’t tempted to throw a coin into the trough partly out of principal and partly due to superstition. I have already thrown a coin into the fountain on a previous trip and to throw a second apparently means one will marry an Italian. On this visit I didn’t want to tempt fate; I don’t want to have to tell my future grandchildren that I met their grandfather after throwing a Euro into something that looked like one of those disinfectant foot baths found next to a public swimming pool.
The Roma Capitale website used to give progress updates but recently (October 2015) these pages appear to have been taken down.
The Superintendent Capitolina website however, is still accessible and is suggesting that the fountain will reopen on the 3rd of November 2015.
Whether this revised deadline will be met is anyone’s guess, so it is well worth taking a look at the free Skyline live webcam of the fountain here to see if the organisers do keep to this date!
### POSTSCRIPT – the Trevi fountain did reopen on the 3rd of November ###
Colonnades, colourful characters and colossal queues at Rome’s Colosseum
Fellini, equestrian miracles and fountains worth frolicking like Anita Ekberg in. Enjoying La Dolce Vita in Rimini