Today we had a little more restful day, and only did a few things. The highlight of today was seeing the Trevi Fountain. It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city, and one of the most famous in the world. It really is quite spectacular to look at, if you can focus your eyes past the hordes of tourists. 😉
The fountain today is not the original fountain. In 1629 Pope Urban the VIII decided that the current fountain was “insufficiently dramatic” and commissioned Bernini to do some sketches for a new fountain.
Side note: our tour guide the other night said that if you guess Bernini designed any extraordinary site you are looking at in Rome, you will be right 75% of the time!
Bernini’s fountain never came to light as it was abandoned when the Pope died.
Then, in 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a competition to design the fountain. A Florentine named Alessandro Galilei won, but there was an outcry from the public because he was a Florentine, and Nicola Salvi’s design was used. Salvi died in 1751 when it was half finished, but under the direction of Giuseppe Pannini it was finally finished in 1762.
Legend says if you throw a coin in the fountain then you will return to Rome. Jessica, Steve and I all did this (I threw three just to make sure!)
Wikipedia estimates that 3000 Euros are thrown in the fountain each day, if that gives you any idea of how many people are hanging around in this area! Apparently, the coins are used to subsidize a Roman supermarket for the needy.
There are several “whistle blowers” hanging around the fountain. I think they are security guards, but they may be police…the police are everywhere… they definitely have a strong presence! Anyway, they walk back and forth on the road above the fountain and blow the whistle at people touching the water in the fountain. I’m not sure if that is for sanitary reasons, keeping the newly restored fountain clean, or trying to keep people from stealing the 3000 Euros thrown into the fountain each day.
Contrary to what Steve likes to say… “You guys look like you are being arrested!”, here are Mom, Gary and I watching a lady pretend she doesn’t understand that she can’t take off her kids shoes and put their feet in the fountain while the whistle blower yells at her in Italian.
After our visit to the fountain we did some wandering. Like you do on vacation, we ate TOO MUCH! The food is just so yummy here 🙂 We did some shopping… and we just looked at stuff. Rome is the kind of place where you just come across interesting “old” things as you are walking through the streets.
For instance, we came across this… we don’t actually know what it is…
… and beautiful buildings that look like this…
… and courtyards that look like this!
We went for another walk in the evening. Jessica was quite enthralled with the “statue” guy. He even let her pose with him 🙂
We saw the Pantheon at night (only the outside though). It looks quite different in the dark!
We also went to have a look at the Trevi Fountain at night. It has been restored recently by Fendi, which included updating the lights so it looks beautiful at night. Money well spent, I’d say 🙂
The crowds were still thick at night. It made me wonder if there is anytime you can see the fountain without a giant crowd of people?!
After our walk, we finished of the night with… you guessed it… more gelato. I hope they don’t have gelato in Greece… I need to get away from this evil temptress!