When I first made plans to come to Europe, I made a conscious decision to come to Rome, Italy.
A lot of my plans were still up in the air and I haven’t even figured out which other countries I will visit, or where will I stay, but I knew in my heart that I just had to go visit the Eternal City.
You see, I have had this long-time dream of traveling to Rome, explore its ancient, cobblestone streets, marvel at its landmarks dating back to Pax Romana, and even earlier. One of the places, I definitely wanted to see was the legendary Trevi Fountain, or Fontana di Trevi.
Call me a romantic, I don’t care, but I fell head over heels in love with the 1954 classic “Three Coins In The Fountain” starring Maggie McNamara and Louis Jordan among others. I saw myself in the hopeful characters who believe that love would come, no matter what. I have had so many heartaches and break-ups that sometimes I wonder, if there is really someone out there who will love me forever.
In that movie, it was shared that when you turn your back from the fountain and tosses a coin from your left shoulder, you will definitely come back to Rome. If you toss a second coin, the you will meet a Roman love. A third coin will ensure that you end up with him/her.
On my very first day in Rome, I ventured to seek out the legendary fountain to try my luck. I braved the very crowded Roman metro A and headed to Barberini, going northwest to Battistini. The fountain is located in one of the many small alleys in Trevi so there is no other way but to take a walk. From Barberini, you can navigate you way into the fountain going through Via del Tritone, Via in Arcione and then finally Via del Lavatore.
If you’re Italian sucks, and you can’t follow a map to save your life, just follow the throngs of tourists wearing big cameras on their neck and chances are they are seeking the fountain too.
Fontana di Trevi is the biggest Baroque fountain in the world and is the probably the most visited too. It was built in the 18th century at the end of the 21-kilometer aqueduct called Virgo, which supplied fresh water to the city. It was named after the Goddess Virgo who according to ancient legend, guided soldiers in search of clean water when they are thirsty.
Since the 1954 movie, the number of tourists visiting the fountain grew exponentially and on one cold spring morning, I became one of those admiring tourists.
Because of frequent visitors, the fountain is getting a much-needed restoration and a fiberglass gate is built around it, presently. You can still go near it, by joining the long queue, at the rightmost passageway, which is subject to control and inspection by the Roman Police, and you can walk through an elevated wooden platform.
After spending 10 minutes in the queue, I finally got my chance to come near the fountain and all I could say at that moment was “whoa”. it is an immense fountain with the most gorgeous sculpture of Neptune.
In the bright light, the white marble statues were luminous and are just a marvel to behold. The pool at the end of its fountain, glistens with the thousands of coins thrown by hopeful travelers and lovers hoping to come back to the city and find romance.
There are lots of activities at the very front, like crowds taking selfies, etc, so it is up to you to find your own inner peace and quiet, and continue on with your coin-throwing pursuits.
I had to ask a group of very, very tall Swedish guys, to give me some space, for fear of hitting their foreheads with my coins.
I made a silent wish to the fountain to let me come back to Rome, and threw a euro over my left shoulder and it made a small splash. I continued to gaze at the lovely fountain, and then a few moments later, I decided to really push my luck and throw a second euro into the pool. I wasn’t really looking for a tryst with a Roman lover, but you’ll never know.
In that exact moment, scenes of the movie flashed through my eyes and the lyrics of the theme song, sung by an uncredited Frank Sinatra, played in my mind.
“Three Coins in the fountain, each one seeking happiness. Thrown by three hopeful lovers, which one will the fountain bless?”, Sinatra mused,.I looked all around me, and wondered, out of all the people who made a wish to the fountain this day, how many would find their own happiness?I never got the chance to think of the answer as the loud police officer yelled at us to move forward since we’re taking too much time. I was near the end of the wooden platform, when my phone suddenly buzzed. Three new tinder matches, it showed, and I gave a hearty laugh.
I turned to face the fountain again, and gave it a silent thank you. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna respond to any of the matches. After all, I wasn’t really prepared for any romance at that moment, but I knew that the fountain was sending me a message.Never give up hope. Love will come when you least expect it, and I think it was right on the mark.
The fountain receives an average of 3,000 euros a day and since 2006, the Roman charity group Caritas has been collecting the money. The charity group clean up the coins and use it to fund social services worldwide. In 2008, Caritas opened a low-cost supermarket for Rome’s needy.