The first time I saw the Trevi Fountain was about 30 years ago. I was on an organized trip around Rome, seeing all the highlights, when the tour guide led us down a narrow street and into a square, and there it was in all its glory. The first time you see the Trevi Fountain is an incredible experience, as it’s so unexpected. The streets around it are normal and the last thing you expect is to turn a corner and see this beautiful, large, ornate fountain dominating the small square.
The first time you see it is magical, but the more times you visit, the more you learn how best to experience it. Back then, it was pretty easy to visit the Trevi Fountain. You simply wandered down the street and there it was, but as the years have gone by, Rome has got busier and more and more people want to see this incredible attraction. So it’s not as easy as it used to be. To help you get the most out of your visit, here are my tips for visiting Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain.
1. How To Get There
The Trevi Fountain is located in Piazza di Trevi. It’s not hard to find, but the streets of Rome can sometimes seem like a rabbit warren. You’ll easily find yourself in Piazza di Spagna, at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, which is one of the most famous squares in Rome. From there, head to Via di Propaganda and walk along Via di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte. Turn left onto Largo del Nazareno and right onto Via della Panetteria. From Via della Stamperia, turn right and you’ll find yourself at the Trevi Fountain. Note, this is a pedestrianized area and you can’t drive onto the streets around the square. Besides, it’s much nicer to walk around Rome at your leisure and take in the beauty of the old streets.
2. Go In The Morning
Located in a small square down a side street, the Trevi Fountain has limited space around it, and as it’s become busier over the years, getting a good view of the fountain has become harder. When I first visited, all those years ago, we could walk right up to it easily and take photos, but if you try to do that today, you’ll find a crowd of people crammed into the small square all trying to get the best view and do the same. If you want a quieter time and to get some good photos, go early. Crowds start arriving at the fountain from 9 a.m. onwards, so the early bird gets the best view. If you visit before 9 a.m., you’ll be one of only a few people there and you can take your time and really enjoy the spectacle.
3. Go In The Evening
The Trevi Fountain is also lovely to visit in the evening and used to be fairly quiet at this time of day. The lights from beneath the water and at various points around the rocks and sculptures light up the fountain in the dark and create a totally different atmosphere from the one enjoyed in the daytime. However, the fountain has now become a popular spot for those wanting to propose in the evening, with the backdrop of the stunning fountain and a romantic spot for couples taking a walk after dinner. It’s still quieter than the afternoon, or lunchtime, but it has got a little busier in recent years. If you want to visit in the evening, go when most tourists will be eating dinner, around 7 p.m. Later on in the evening, it gets busier and you’ll probably witness a proposal or two.
4. Throw A Coin
There are a few legends and superstitions attached to the Trevi Fountain, but the best-known one is that of throwing a coin into the fountain’s waters. It’s said that if you throw in one coin, you will return to Rome one day; if you throw in two coins, you will meet the love of your life; and if you’ve already met them, toss three coins into the fountain and you’ll marry them. The tradition of tossing coins into fountains (as it does apply to other fountains too) comes from a Roman practice of throwing coins into rivers or the sea before people were about to take a journey on the water. They believed that the coin would ensure the gods would grant them safe passage.
Today, it’s just for fun, but there is a right way to do it. Visitors should have their backs turned to the fountain and throw the desired number of coins over their left shoulder using their right hand to have the best chance of luck! As you might imagine, a lot of people throw a lot of coins into the Trevi Fountain. Approximately 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain every day! This means the fountain has to be dredged of these coins daily and donated to charity. If you’re tempted to lean over and take a few, be warned, the fountain is constantly monitored and stealing the coins is not looked kindly upon!
5. Check Out More Fountains
The Trevi Fountain might be the most impressive, but it’s not the only fountain in Rome. Head to Piazza Navona and you’ll find Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, The Fountain of The Moor, and The Fountain of Neptune. It’s a bigger and much quieter area than Piazza di Trevi and the three fountains are beautiful, if not quite as spectacular as the Trevi Fountain. It’s a popular area, with street performers and cafés making it a lovely place to spend a little time and take in the three fountains.
6. Don’t Enter The Fountain
If it’s a hot day, it might be tempting, but do not get into the water. Don’t stand in the fountain or dangle your feet in the water. It happens and you might see someone doing it, but fines are issued for getting into the fountain.