The thing that grabs me most about the Trevi Fountain Rome is the sound of the rushing water.
I hear it just before I see the fountain and it always fills me with a sense of excitement, knowing what's around the corner.
Because the huge fountain is in such a small space, it's simply breath-taking to come upon this little plaza from one of the small streets leading up to it, and see all at once the beautifully carved god Oceanus and his water horses bursting out of the huge basin of clear turquoise water.
And precisely because the fountain is in such a small space, it's nearly always crowded.
So what is the best way to visit Rome's largest Baroque fountain?
Here’s what you need to know about visiting the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi):
When people ask what is the big fountain in rome, the most famous fountain in Rome, perhaps the most romantic fountain in Rome, they are usually referring to the Trevi Fountain.
The Trevi Fountain was immortalized in Federico Fellini's classic Italian movie, La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg. (In 1996 the fountain was turned off and draped in black crepe to honor Mastroianni after his death. )
The famous fountain also made an appearance in other iconic films such as Jean Negulesco's Three Coins in a Fountain, William Wyler's Roman Holiday, and the Julia Roberts movie Eat, Pray, Love.
The Trevi Fountain is a monumental fountain, meaning it marks the end of a Roman aqueduct.
The fountain is made almost entirely of Travertine marble (which is not really a marble but a porous stone).
Travertine means "from the Tiber."
It's the same stone used to build the Colosseum.
When you come upon the square where the Trevi Fountain is, you'll see that the square itself is not so big. In fact, the fountain seems to take up most of it.
The square is an unusual shape, like a kind of theater, allowing a lot of people at once to get a very good look at this gorgeous fountain from all angles.
The fountain did not start out this size.
The original "fountain" was just a lead pipe bringing fresh water into Medieval Rome via the Acqua Vergine.
In the 17th and 18th centuries this giant fountain was designed so the pope could have something beautiful to look at from above.
But not longer after that, when popes were not living in the Quirinal Palace any more, it didn't matter if buildings grew back up around this little square. And so they did.
There are a lot of sculptures in the Trevi Fountain. What do they mean?
The main thing to know is that the global theme of the Trevi Fountain is the abundance and health that water brings.
The statues in the center of the Trevi Fountain are Oceanus standing over two hippocamps (half horse-half fish) who are in turn being led by tritons, or gods of the sea.
The two hippocamps represent the moods of the seas - at times serene and at times wild and unmanageable.
The statues on either side of Oceanus represent abundance and health.
There are two bas-reliefs depicting the history of the Trevi Fountain - on the left, Agrippa ordering the aqueduct to be built and on the right, the young maiden showing the Roman soldiers where to find the water source.
The four sculptures along the top all represent the bounty that water brings to crops.
You can read more details about the meaning of the sculptures on the Trevi Fountain on my Trevi Fountain History page.
It is curious to be looking up at the Trevi Fountain and sometimes see silhouettes of people in the windows on either side of the fountain. One wonders, how did those people get in there?
Originally the palazzo belonged to the Duke of Conti, who came from a town not far from Rome called Poli. (Even today the building is called Palazzo Poli.)
The area called "Dante Hall", which now overlooks the Trevi Fountain, was home to an enormous and valuable library and art collections, and eventually was used to hold lavish parties for Rome's upper-crust society.
The palazzo passed through several wealthy families but eventually it became property of the city of Rome. Today it houses the National Institute for Graphic Art.
Just a stone's throw away from the Trevi Fountain Rome, you can visit the original site of the source of the water that fills the Trevi Fountain, the "Acqua Vergine", or Virgin Water Aqueduct.
I don't really suggest you use your pass for this site, as admission is very inexpensive. There is usually no need to book in advance, but if you are really interested in this site, I suggest you take a tour.
Romans love their superstitions.
A well-known one, which originated in the 1954 film "Three Coins in the Fountain", goes like this:
If you throw a coin with your right hand, over your left shoulder, into the Trevi Fountain Rome, then you will be guaranteed to return to Rome one day.
Supposedly, tossing in two coins means you will fall in love AND return to Rome.
And of course, the myth of the 3-coin toss that the movie is named for - If you toss three coins into the Trevi Fountain (always using your right hand and throwing it over your left shoulder), you will marry the person you met.
About 3,000 Euros worth of coins are tossed into the Trevi Fountain in Rome every day.
People used to try to steal the coins out of the fountain, but they have really cracked down and now it's next to impossible. The fines are also quite hefty.
You'll be glad to know those coins are put to excellent use: The fountain is cleaned out once a week, and the money given to the Italian charity, Caritas, which spends the Trevi Fountain money to fund a low-cost grocery store for the needy.
Does the Trevi Fountain close?
You can visit the Trevi Fountain Rome 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. You can even visit it right now from your armchair with the Trevi Fountain live cam.
Does the Trevi Fountain have an admission price?
It's absolutely free to visit the Trevi Fountain.
There are things nearby you can visit however. For more, visit our complete Trevi Fountain Neighborhood guide.
As I described above on this page, the Trevi Fountain is really huge for the space it's in, so there is not a lot of room for people to gather and look at it.
This is one reason why it's often so crowded.
It can be hard to get a good photo, or a great view to yourself.
There is no secret to seeing this fountain with hardly any crowds:
I never like having to tell people what NOT to do, but there are a few important things you should know:
The Trevi Fountain is fairly accessible. The surrounding piazza is mostly flat cobblestone. If you are completely wheelchair-bound, you will not be able to go down the stairs to where the basin is, but you can get excellent views from the main level anyway.
When it's crowded, it can be hard to see the Trevi Fountain so you may want to try to come very early in the morning so you can enjoy the view without having so many heads in your way.
The Trevi Fountain is in Piazza di Trevi in Rome's historic center (centro storico.)
Its location makes it one of the most central must-see sites in Rome, and very easy to get to and from a lot of the other must-see sites such as the Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Pantheon (all about 10 minutes' walk away), and the Colosseum and Piazza del Popolo (both about 30 minutes' walk away.)
Below you can see the location of the Trevi Fountain on a map of Rome. You can click to zoom in or out and enlarge the map if you like.
No vehicles are allowed onto the square where the Trevi Fountain is.
But you can get close.
The City Sightseeing bus tours all have a stop nearby and you can walk there.
If coming by Metro, take the red line A to the Barberini metro stop.
Once you get out of the metro, go downhill, taking via degli Avignonesi straight to via in Arcione and finally to via del Lavatore.
As you walk along via del Lavatore, approaching the fountain, you will hear the sounds of the water (and usually the crowds.)
You can also reach the Trevi Fountain on foot from the red line A Spagna stop.
To go by bus to Trevi Fountain, just take one of many that stop on via del Tritone, the large street behind Palazzo Poli.
This stop is just one block away from the Trevi Fountain.
Buses include: 52, 53, 62, 63, 71, 80, 83, 85, 160, 175, and 492. The stop is called "TRITONE/FONTANA DI TREVI."
For more about the Trevi Fountain, come visit these pages: