Legend tells us that over two-thousand years ago a young virgin led a group of thirty Roman soldiers to a spring near the ancient roadway known as the Via Collatina. And in 19 BC, an aqueduct was built that would carry the precious water from that spring some 14 miles to the west and into ancient Rome itself. The aqueduct was built by Emperor Agrippa to supply water for the thermal baths located near the Pantheon. But it also supplied water for fountains in the city’s historic center that served the needs of its ordinary citizens. That aqueduct was named the Aqua Virgo in honor of the young virgin responsible for its discovery.
More than 2,000 years later, those same springs still provide water for many of the city’s fountains. Most of these fountains, and there are more than 2,500 in Rome today, are small, simple outlets where clean, fresh, drinkable water is constantly provided for locals and tourists alike. But many of these fountains are much more elaborate and beautifully decorated. And perhaps the most famous of all, one of the true artistic treasures, is Trevi Fountain which stands at the terminal point of the original aqueduct and still draws its clear water from the ancient Aqua Virgo.
By the 15th century, a small and very simple fountain was located here. But in 1732, Pope Clement XII commissioned work for a much larger and more elaborate fountain to be built. Finally, in 1762, the massive Trevi Fountain was completed and for more than 250 years it has been considered one of the most beautiful in the city. But after so many years the elaborate travertine stone statues, carvings and fountains became damaged and discolored. Everyone realized that a great deal of money would be required to restore the fountain to its original beauty, but like most governments n today’s world there was no money to spare.
Fortunately, the private sector stepped in to save not only Trevi Fountain but many other important monuments in the city. In the case of Trevi Fountain the financial resources were provided by one of the country’s premier fashion houses, Fendi.
Financed by the company’s contribution of some $2.2 million, repairs began 17 months ago when the fountain was drained and the elaborate decorations were mostly hidden behind scaffolding. Finally, on November 3, 2015, the scaffolding was removed and the fountain came to life once again with its emerald waters sparkling below the freshly cleaned statuary. No matter how many times you may have been to Trevi in the past, you must make sure to visit again during your next visit to the Eternal City of Rome. You will be amazed at the original beauty of the fountain that has not been seen in such marvelous condition for more than 200 years.