2009 TNT Travel Writing Awrds entrant

Author: Lousia Toaldo

Traveling to new cities, you can’t help but wish to consult guide books for updated lists of the must see and dos of a city. Sometimes their suggestions turn into gems, memories happily enhanced with recollection over time, sometimes you just wonder what they were thinking. Sometimes you just wonder whether or not they were standing in the same place as you are. Luckily, standing before the Trevi Fountain in Rome, I relished once again being in front of one the few places suggested to me that I agreed was worth a view.

The song sings of three coins, yet all I had were two. I wondered did it matter that they were copper Euros? I hope not! The Trevi Fountain in Rome had once again lured me to its marbled facade, where I couldn’t wait to sit at the edge and toss in my coins. I grabbed my friends in my excitement and pulled them into prime position on the water’s edge. Giddily clutching our coins like excitable children, we closed our eyes, wished and tossed the coins over our shoulders, waiting for the soft splash of our coins and wishes hitting the lower basin of the fountain. We had now committed our wishes to the desires of the Gods featured in the fountains marble.

As I stand in the sunshine, the full grandeur of the marble fountain consumes me. I note Neptune, the ever present Sea God in most Italian fountains, taking pride of place in the center. His two chariot pulling horses speak of the sea, one the calm ocean depths, the other the violent storm induced waves. Clear water from the Salone Springs rushes forth from the fountains spouts, adding a lyrical quality to the visual spectacle. It becomes more than just a fountain as you gaze upon the curves and twists of the figures that loom before you.

As with most aspects of Italian culture, it’s hard not to be seduced by this tribute to the God of The Sea, styled in impressive Baroque marble. Like the most persuasive of Italian lovers, it just begs to be admired, either through the lens of your camera or just by standing and observing in awe. It’s easy to be transported onto the film sets of the most famous trio of movies that made a feature of this sight, ‘Three Coins’, ‘La Dolce Vita’ and ‘Roman Holiday’ when standing or sitting, in front of it.

It’s not often that functionality meets with style, yet the Trevi Fountain manages to do both whilst continuing the Italian tradition of nothing done by halves. It’s interesting to note that not one person designed the finished spectacle, with much debate, input and outcry surrounding this piece of history. But as I have learnt, whilst my heritage may do nothing by halves, this was also achieved with a touch of drama befitting the most lavish of fountains.

The original design was commissioned to Gian Lorenzo Bernini by the Pope Urban Vlll but after the Popes death, part of the original plan was abandoned. The completion of the design was again commissioned out, this time with Nicola Salvi and Allessandro Gallilei competing for the winners title. Gallilei was declared the original winner but due to his Florentine heritage and the ensuring outcry, the design was re-awarded to Nicola Salvi. The fountain was not completed in his lifetime thus other artists contributed to the final design and layout. Standing in front of fountain it is clear that within the grandeur of the design lays historical drama befitting one of the most iconic images of Rome.

Rome has lured me to its heart twice before, so clearly the obligatory wish from the coins of returning to this wonderful city have come true. My others?As the first time was when I was nine, the original was no doubt for some gelati or pizza, which are, as we all know, the essential culinary delights to lust after when young and in the city these treats are home too. The second time found me sitting on the edge of the same fountain at a blissfully naive 21, which leads me to believe that this wish was no doubt was to fall in love. After all, I was in Italy, the country of romance, lovers and dreams. This time it was again to return and I decided to become more specific and team the two. Thus the wish became to return with the one I had wished to find and love and indulge them with some pizza or gelati eating at the fountain!

Considering the first two wishes had come true in their own ways, I’m hoping some Italian magic will find it’s way into my life and my third time’s a charm wish will come true! In a city which contains more amazing attractions then there is time to see in one day, the Trevi Fountain has always been on the top of my list. There just seems to be something about the bustle of steps in front of the fountain. This, coupled with the rebellious need to escape the loud and official tweet of the polizia whistle and the amazing gelati available for just two euro a hop away, how could i possibly resist?